A few years back we took down a massive oak that provided much needed shade in a corner of our patio. It had become diseased, and with hurricane season right around the corner, it was time to remove the risk. The tree removal crew showed up and began taking it down. It was an all day job – one I couldn’t watch. I’m probably considered a bit odd, but I was teary eyed and sad. The branches trembled and shook as they were slowly removed. Just as I expected, the gap left presented a strange sight, and it seemed as if our yard would never look right again. The tree’s canopy no longer offered shelter and the squirrels were in a snit. Who knows how many birds lost a nest, their sanctuary gone. Slowly over time, we became used to the altered view. The tree next to this one could now grow straighter, instead of listing to the left, it’s previous pitiful attempts at capturing it’s share of the sun no longer challenged.
I imagine the skyline appeared to NY’ers like that, a massive hole deep and wide – the kind of hole that can’t be filled by anything but the course of time. The skyline, altered forever, would have appeared bizarre and foreign, with the sun shining where it shouldn’t, and other buildings no longer sheltered by the gigantic structures. The shade and shadow of the towers gone, like two massive trees felled, I still think of those who came only with the expectations of providing for their families, and like birds and squirrels scattered about on branches, their view of the world was sky high and full of promise.