What A Difference A Tree Makes

Trees are lovely things, as a general rule. But sometimes, in coastal communities, trees can really get in the way, and unhealthy trees also pose a risk of causing real damage to nearby houses during a severe storm. So it was with the trees on the hillside of our neighbor’s property, which made yesterday morning “tree removal time” on the Greenhead Peninsula.

Through the work of Melvin and his backhoe and his friend Steve and his chainsaw, we cut down and hauled away more than a half dozen trees of varying sizes, including a large diseased tree located right next to our house. My role was basically limited to lifting and bundling branches for later removal, and since I value my fingers I tried to stay as far away from the chainsaw as possible, just to be on the safe side. It’s amazing, though, what a chainsaw, a backhoe, and a few hours of hard work can accomplish. As a result of our efforts, we cleared much of the hillside, as our neighbor wanted, and we also gave Melvin and Janet a view of the harbor from their kitchen window, just like they had years ago, when there weren’t as many mature trees in the neighborhood.

As a result of the tree removal operation, the neighborhood looks a lot different. The south side of our house now has dramatically altered views and will be getting a lot more sunshine on clear, cloudless days. We can also see the huge rock formations on the hillside, which I like. Our work has also affected the view from our upper deck, as shown by the before (above) and after (below) photos with this post. And now I don’t have to worry about a sick tree toppling into the side of our house during the next nor’easter.

On A Clear Day

I’m always astonished at how far you can see on the clear days in Stonington. On the last part of my morning walk I climb Pink Street, which winds ever upward, cross School Street by the old schoolhouse that is now a community center, and then jog over to the aptly named Highland Avenue. That street bends in the direction of the harbor and, after you pass a few homes, stacks of lobster traps, and piles of lobster buoys, you suddenly emerge into the open, far above the harbor and the houses on Main Street below, and are rewarded for your climb up Pink Street with the sweeping vista shown above.

Standing at that point and trying to take it all in, you feel like you can see for miles—and you can. Isle au haut, the island with the notch in it in the background, is about 6 miles away from this point. And all of the islands and boats in the foreground are so distinct you can see individual people moving on the boats and individual trees on the islands rustling in the breeze.

It’s as if you’ve never really seen something clearly before. On clear days like this one I always wear sunglasses because everything is so breathtakingly bright.