If a tree falls in NYC

Today the playgrounds are closed, and outside our window, they are chopping down the pink cherry trees, just as they were right about to bloom. This feels very right before the end of the First Act, albeit in an extremely First-World Problems kind of play. (The playgrounds will re-open, and new trees—not as pretty, not the same, not in time to bloom this spring—will be planted.)

[Wally typing—this has never happened before here! He wrote, from my point of view.] My son is very sad. He hopes that the trees will still have there roots so they can grow again.

Saying goodbye to those pink trees (we happened, just now, to catch them in the moment of being felled because the playgrounds were closed so we came straight home) brings me back to this post Pink Trees, from 6 years ago.

And here is wandering little Wally, asking why I named this blog "Last American Childhood" and my labyrinthine explanation, including the way my perception of that name has changed. And my realization that as much as this blog was started because of him, has been occupied and pre-occupied with his development, his days, the context for his childhood, as much as he has bloomed in real life, a process I have always tried but barely been able to begin to capture here, he has never been a reader of this/(that?) blog. Not that I expect him to become one anytime soon. But he captured me in media res, attempting to put words to the sudden blank white page of this moment, and something new has taken root. 


  1. Very pretty pink trees. How lovely it would be to sit and ponder life's many puzzles under them.

    How thoughtful of your son to wonder about the roots of the fallen trees.


  2. Why are they cutting the trees down? Vanessa mentioned that too

  3. They say they were decaying...only had a few years left...too bad they couldn't have lived them out...but I guess since they're re-landscaping everything now, one could make the argument for chopping...

  4. That's too bad. I hope they plant another. I really like cherry blossoms.

  5. I know! They refuse to replace with cherry.

  6. Did Wally have a response to your explanation of the blog name?

    I always think it sad when trees are cut down. What shocked me was how often this happens in commercial agriculture, where markets are always changing in a world economy, and farmers tear out whole orchards of healthy trees because they can't sell their fruit.

    In my own growing spaces I always feel so grateful if a plant wants to go on living, it makes me sentimental and I have a hard time being realistic about how many things can grow well or look good in a limited area.

  7. You know he didn't really, GretchenJoanna. But I thank you so much for thinking of that question and that moment.

    It's terrible to think of those healthy trees being torn down because of changing markets. Thanks for putting some perspective on the debacle here.

    I so relate to your mindset - having a hard time, I imagine, trimming away "excess" plants. Then again, from the pictures of your garden, it seems you've done an amazing job finding a balance there.

  8. It's clear he's picked up on your example of self-expression through creativity.

    Sorry about the tree and the terrible timing. :( I do love the analogy you draw from it, though.

  9. Thank you Kelly. I took some of the branches inside and they're blooming now.

  10. To chop down cherry trees just before bloom feels tragic, especially in the city, where the pink blossoms are such a contrast to the tall grey buildings, and for a fleeting time, nature steals the show. I always made a point of walking down Park Avenue near my office at this time of year, the sidewalks canopied in pink for blocks and blocks. But I love this new root taking place, Wally typing in this space, expressing his feelings from your point of view, peering through your lens at himself. And now you have me pondering the idea of trading the flower for the root...

  11. Yes Sarah - exactly. There is something even more precious about the pink of the trees in contrast to the gray. So nice you appreciated the Park Avenue canopy. Trading the flower for the root...wow - now you have me pondering that, too.


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