by Seth Rogovoy
I’m no arborist, and I don’t know anything about trees. And I know that the Bradford Pear trees lining downtown Great Barrington’s Main Street are controversial, to say the least, and some self-styled experts claim they are the wrong trees in the wrong location, and at the end of their lifespans, anyway.
The trees are expected to be taken down in a couple of years by the town – although never say never – and there has been some talk about how the town blew its chances years ago to have one local nursery maintain the trees, which give the downtown a distinctive, cozy look and which are gorgeous when in full bloom.
This past weekend, however, Mother Nature seemed to have given political cover to those who were intent on removing the trees at the first possible opportunity, and on Sunday and Monday crews were out in force with chain saws, trimming in some cases but clear-cutting in others.
While there is no doubt that limbs came down and trees needed repair work done – to say nothing of sidewalks needing to be cleared and the safety of pedestrians needing to be insured (to say nothing of parked automobiles, although it’s debatable whose rights should take precedence – hunks of gas-guzzling metal and plastic versus trees) – it is debatable whether or not crews could have just waited a few hours for the snow in the trees to melt to see if the trees would pop back to life, as trees are programmed to do, rather than to remove them swiftly in the guise of a weather emergency.
One can’t help but wonder how those who put up the funds for a tree honoring Captain and Mrs. Otto C. Hall (pictured) might feel about the poor stump that is all that remains of the glorious memorial to this unheralded couple.