I love having a dog for too many reasons to count. One of the major happies of being Frasier's family revolves around the leash that hangs just inside our front door, and the role it plays in the daily ritual of walking our pup.
While some folks see walking the dog as a chore, I've always loved that very focused moment when he knows we're about to head off on a low-speed adventure, and he bounces madly around the vestibule while I fetch the leash, get my shoes on and get ready to head out. Having a dog means a built-in connection to the neighbourhood, an ongoing excuse to get up close and personal with the streetscape in ways we just can't when we're driving off to work or cycling home from somewhere far away.
Last week, I noticed something odd on our late-evening stroll: The maple tree that once shielded the streetlight just down the street from our house had been cut down to the bare stump you see here. Its lovely canopy was gone, replaced with yawning, open space. Frasier didn't seem to notice as he sniffed the sawdust in the grass and wrapped himself around the now-decapitated trunk. But I noticed, and while I'm sure there was a logical reason for the tree's removal, it still saddened me.
I felt the need to take a low-light, badly focused, grainy and colour-imbalanced picture. Not because it was great photography. But because I simply wanted something to anchor how I felt as I stood there and remembered something that was no longer there.
Lousy as this shot is, I'm glad I took it, because by last night the rest of the trunk was gone, too. London is known as the Forest City, yet we never seem to plant enough new trees to fill those holes in the sky left by the ones we lose.
I know it's just one tree, and compared to the very real losses incurred by very real people every day around us, it is deservedly trivial. But it still bugs me, and it'll continue to bug me every time I walk past it with my otherwise occupied dog. Something tells me he'll miss that tree, too.