Trees: My friend and enemy

Spring is in full swing here in Miami County. You can tell how thrilled I am by the look on my face.

My puffy, irritated face. My swollen, itchy eyes. My congested, stuffy head.

I’m sorry if I’m going to whine a bit this week, but I’ve never had allergies in my life until I hit my 30s.

And folks, I am miserable. I crawled to the nearest CVS and took all of the allergy medication. All of it. I need all of it.

I’ll never forget the first day I woke up with my eyes swollen shut because of allergies. I was living in town and I had an interview that morning. At first, I thought I was dying of some strange strain of food poisoning or something. I applied cold washclothes to my face trying to reduce the swelling.

I looked like I was on the losing end of an alley cat fight.

From my window, I could see the gorgeous cause of my plight — those awful, horrendous Bradford Pear trees lining Water Street. You can imagine my delight when I read Durant Ashmore’s rant called “The Curse of the Bradford Pear” last year. In fact, these white flowering ornamental trees are destroying native pear trees and should be cut down. Amen Mr. Ashmore. Amen. Yet, they’ll likely die in a few years anyway due to their weak branch structure.

Thankfully this person I had to interview was full of grace. He sure had a good laugh at my expense as I conducted the interview with my absurdly large sunglasses on. Of course he asked why in the world I was wearing sunglasses indoors, but once I lifted the shades, he didn’t blame me for covering my red, swollen face.

Note: Nothing draws attention to your puffy, swollen eyes like Kardashian-esque sunglasses worn indoors.

I blame these big, beautiful flowering trees. I hate them, but I love them. They are so pretty. They are the devil.

Why, oh, why are they trying to kill me?

Now that I know that I’m part of the allergy club, I curse these beautiful purple and pink redbud trees as I drive around gorgeous Miami County in the spring.

Folks, I love trees (except for the Bradford Pear). I’ve begged my parents not to cut any trees down around our family home because the void would be heartbreaking. Sure it may one day cause thousands of dollars in damage to the house if a big chunk would come down in a storm, but I’m selfish like that.

I know I shouldn’t take stock in things like trees, but I can’t help it. In fact, I cry a little when those tree companies whack the heck out of them for the sake of the power lines. They make the trees look like they got a bad haircut at the cheap barber shop. No artistry at all, just slash and saw away boys.

I love trees so much I’ll admit I was pretty sad when they cut down the gorgeous oak trees at Hobart Arena to make way for the renovation. I even saved a few acorns from those trees. My skating friends and I used to sit under that tree in the summer waiting for our ice time to begin. We also used to pelt each other in the face with acorns leaving little welts all over ourselves. Those suckers hurt. I’m sentimental like that.

Anyhow, I love trees, but I can’t help to wonder if they are turning on me.

So when local reports noted how people are upset about losing gorgeous century old trees due to progress and necessity, I totally get it. Would I chain myself to a tree, probably not, but I totally get why people do such things. It’s a tangible, living thing that has outlasted decades and in one fell swoop it will be gone at the hands of men.

Earlier this week, I wrote a story of a man who is riding through the area today, donating five oak trees to be planted at Treasure Island Park. This guy was a man after my own heart. In fact, it is his generous donation that has made me feel somewhat at peace with the world now that new oaks will take the place of the old faithful ones. Thanks Mr. Devitt.

While I’m proud that Troy is a Tree City USA member, I just wish the city would make more of an effort to replace the trees they take away from our beautiful landscape.