Thursday, October 06, 2005

Beaumont Trees

I love trees and I love the trees in Grant Park that harbor squirrels that Ralph loves to chase. Having gone to the park for over nine years, I have seen a lot of changes. Old trees have gotten sick and had to be cut down. New trees, usually deciduous, planted and now showing their red fall clothes.

I came across Ron Franscell posting at Under the News. He writes about his love for trees and how in the rigorous Wyoming climate, trees were more fragile than here and grew only about three months a year, between the last frost in May to the first frost in Mid-September.


Portions of Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming were hit by a slow-moving snowstorm that knocked out power, closed roads and dumped up to 13 inches by Wednesday.

Franscell now lives in Beaumont, Texas and you know Beaumont took a direct hit from Hurricane Rita. He writes

When I came to Southeast Texas 18 months ago, the landscape was festooned with trees. They grew like weeds in a tropical climate, and some people removed them helter-skelter, the way some people change the furniture in their living rooms. My front yard had three majestic trees, and the back had even more. I took comfort in these eight trees' maturity and shade. They were home to birds and squirrels that made the whole place seem more like a home than a house. These were my trees and I wouldn't have dreamed of cutting them down.

But Hurricane Rita took them all. A sturdy cedar was literally ripped out by its roots. The storm sheared off the tops of three tall pines, and stripped huge branches from all the rest. The hurricane-force gusts shaved off most of the leaves, split the crotches of the trunk, shoved them perilously toward the tipping point and slashed fences across their bark. It's the same story all over this region, where grand old trees bore the greatest brunt of non-human damage. In Beaumont, the storm even claimed the old tree in the city, a historic oak that was older than America itself; it was so large that when it came down, it damaged three different homes.

All but two will be gone when I go home tonight. The tree-cutters were expected today to chop them down and haul them away. I'll plant more, and maybe for a while, I'll measure their growth, just to be sure. An old habit from a short season.

I remember the Columbus Day Storm and can imagine what Beaumont must look like.

Bev & Mike

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