Lines of Power

They are coming to cut down the trees. Hollies and poplars stand at the back of my yard, and men are coming to cut them down. They say that it is to protect the power lines beyond them, but these trees could never reach those lines. If there were a danger, I would understand, but the only danger is to the trees.

Perhaps it is a mistake. Or perhaps the people doing this work, on behalf of Duke Power, are paid by the tree, and so they see all trees as threats. I don’t know. I can’t tell.

I do not see these hollies and poplars as threats. I see them as beautiful and alive and belonging as much to themselves as to me. Despite their beauty, and age (the hollies are large for their kind, but not large enough to reach the lines, not tall enough to do harm), men will be coming soon to cut them down.

It feels like the sort of thing that happens these days. People come, viewing the world through a lens so different from mine that I may as well be an alien, coming from a strange world or emerging like Cthulhu from the ancient mud of the seafloor. They do not value the things I value, or respect the people I value, and I have no frame of reference to communicate with them, no power to stop them, not really.

One evening soon, I will return to my home and look across to see nothing but stumps, or the odd mutilated shapes of trees that have been cut back, tops gone, limbs truncated, flat topped and disgraced, waiting for disease to set into the exposed cuts.

If I protest, nothing will change. This is not the first time that men with saws and forms have come and left notices in my mail or hanging on my door.

Have I failed them, these trees? Or have I failed the people who will cut them back? Should I be raising hell, protesting, complaining, demanding that they appreciate the beauty of the trees and the measure of the distance between the power lines and them? Should I fight to make these people see the value of something more than dollars and rules?

Lines of power are odd things. At least those near my house are lines that I can see. Still, they do less harm and carry less power than the lines I cannot see, the lines that lead these saw wielding puppets to my property, damaging things that will do them no harm, but that will give them profit.

Tomorrow, or soon, they come for the trees, and I do nothing. What will they come for next?