Monday, November 17, 2008

What is it about trees?

This is the view from my kitchen window, facing the street
This is a close up view. In this picture you see the ficus tree that straddles the property line between two of my neighbors. This tree is not on my property and I have nothing to do with it (except that I look at it from my kitchen window).

Yes, you're right, it's pretty ugly. Hacked up. (Another) One of my neighbors even calls it an eye-sore. Thank you for thinking so. I agree. But neither this tree, nor the fact that it's an eye-sore (right now) bothers me. Truthfully, I really don't care. What bothers me is that the neighbors between whose property it is are fighting over it. What bothers me even more is that they are fighting over it when one of our neighbors is going through a divorce and another is in the hospital with pretty serious kidney problems. It just seems to me that in these times, there are (much) more important things for people to focus attention on.

What is it about neighbors and trees that makes otherwise seemingly reasonable people completely unable to get along? I don't really understand the big problem about trees. If you have a tree and it's in your neighbor's yard, or it's blocking their view, or it's dropping it's leaves all over their yard it seems to me that reasonable thing for you to do is trim your tree. It is, after all, your tree and your responsibility. I think it's reasonable for your neighbor to do the same. Now granted sometimes your neighbor isn't aware that their tree is doing these things - and that's where you come in, asking them politely about remedying the problem. But that's where your role should end and your neighbor's role should begin (or visa versa if yours is the offending tree and you are the clueless tree owner). I guess I just don't understand why your tree should or ever would be more important than your neighbor. If you're weighing two things, tree or person, and you're choosing the tree ... well, that just seems a little silly to me. No matter how much you like your tree. The bottom line is, trees are living things, but they don't have feelings. People do. And I just think that people's feelings, and getting along, and being neighborly are more important than a tree.

I'm not talking about cutting down trees here. Tree removal is a whole 'nother ball of wax. But trimming? Maintaining? And privacy is another valid reason to keep trees at a certain thickness or height and I'm fine with that too. People have a right to a certain amount of privacy. But if privacy is not the issue, then I simply don't understand the problem. If your tree impedes your neighbor and they ask you to trim it I think that you should. End of story.

In this particular case I'm really not taking sides. Both of my neighbors are nice to me and the tree in question has no impact whatsoever on my life so it's not my place to be in the middle of this issue. My point is just that there are so many more important things to spend time and energy on. Being nice to our neighbors who need our help, for one thing (think globally, act locally and all).

We want our politicians to be non-partisan. To "reach across the aisle". But I'm starting to undestand that we want this for our politicians because, if my neighborhood is any example, we're unable to do this ourselves. Obviously God knew that this neighbor thing was going to be tough. He gave Moses two commandments specifically relating to neighbors. That's right. One fifth of the commandments talk about neighbors. That tells you something.

No comments: