A few summers ago, I was a mentor in our church’s summer tutoring program. We had been giving tickets to an Orioles game for all our students so I was driving three kids and a chaperone down to the stadium. The mom asked me where I lived and I told her, “Charles Village.” Charles Village is a neighborhood in Baltimore. It’s definitely deep within the city but also has a lot of big trees. Her response was, “Oh, it feels like the country there.” I was new enough to Baltimore and city living to have no idea what she was talking about. Charles Village? The country? CV is rows and rows and rows of rowhouses! There’s concrete and brick everywhere! It is anything but the country!
But as I got to know Baltimore better, I came to understand that in many neighborhoods in Baltimore, there are few to no trees. A block with no trees makes a block in Charles Village indeed feel like the country.
I was reminded of that experience yesterday as Ellie and I left our house on a 99-degree day to go visit some friends who have central air (a nice commodity on such a day!). During the storm that happened while we were in Greece, the tree across the street from our house fell down. I loved that tree. It was amazingly tall and got beautiful yellow tulip-shaped flowers midway through the summer. Our house itself didn’t get direct shade from it but it definitely shaded our yard and the surrounding streets.
Now that the tree is gone, I really miss it. I miss being able to rest my eyes on it from our office and living room windows. Our house is noticeably brighter and hotter. The streets even feel hotter because so much more sun is getting to the asphalt to be absorbed.
Trees are indeed a quality of life issue. It will be a long time before a new tree can replace the one that we lost. Our house now feels just a little bit less like we’re in the country. (Because really, we’re not in the country at all but when you have trees, it sure helps.)