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Thu Apr 16th, 2015


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09:31 am - Trees and such
No leaves, barely even buds, and the April sun has moved into the right half of my study window to blind me with its glare. I put up the louvered shutters which are not quite tall enough to reach the window top, and place my newly recovered shoji in front of that. The shoji is covered in white paper only (the previous avatar was red, and a bit too dark) and I sit in cool white light, most elegant. This brief indoors calm will change when it gets warm enough that the windows must be open, which is a whole other tsuris, what with wind knocking shutters down and invariably ripping the shoji paper. But for now the furnace needs still to be on at night, and the filtered white sun in the morning presents me with teasing memory fragments, swift impressions of sakura in Japan that first year or two, a white world under the trees, the pale sky ('vaporous', that was the word Hearn used: sky watered into nothing but the suggestion of blue, and most of it saturated cloud anyway)-- and the faint acridity of cars and pollution, trapped in the moisture-laden air, always there in the unpleasant sun.

The current efficiency of the world continues to amaze me. Tuesday Davy Tree (under contract to the city) came along the street, trimming branches that might impinge on wires. (Front lawn trees belong to the city by fiat, even if the city didn't actually plant them themselves as they did mine.) I went veg shopping, confident that when I got back I'd find the birch tree no longer twining its branches about the hydro and ready to bring it down in an ice storm; returned to find it untouched while the truck had moved up to the next block. Caught up with them and made enquiries. I wasn't on their list. 'Call 311 and tell the city.' Do. (Efficiency #1- no half hour wait.) City says their cutters can't handle branches that touch electric as opposed to Bell wires. It's Hydro's bailiwick; Davy Tree doesn't have the equipment for it. Call Hydro, report birch tree, gruff voice says they'll send someone to look. Yesterday I come home on my break to find Hydro just finishing up and bro and s-i-l on porch watching the show. S-i-l is displeased that Hydro will only cut the branches that impinge on wires and not trim the other side of the tree for balance; Hydro guy says they can only cut city trees if they actually threaten Hydro's wires. But even with all this territoriality, one day to get results amazes me.

More worrying is next door's insistence that when tree #1, an ironwood close to the house, failed to leaf for two years straight, the city cut it down and planted the birch. I have no memory of them cutting it down, or of there being a stump with small shoot that remained, which in the third year started to grow again and is now roof-high. It makes *sense* that they'd do that instead of leaving a dead tree on my property: but *I* remember a sizable tree (eight years old by then) suddenly bursting into leaf after two years not, and me being here for all of it. S-i-l says they cut it when she moved in, mid-90s- says there was nothing but a stump; where I'm certain it was after I came back, sometime in 98 or 99. One or both of us is seriously confused. And I can't believe we got from stump to three storeys in fifteen years.
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