Top heavy or bottom light?
When it comes to trees, I bow to no man in my admiration and appreciation of our arboreal friends. Ditto with birds. I am utterly in love with birds and trees, two forms of life that are fairly inseparable.
It makes me sad when a tree gets done away with. It makes the world just a short fraction poorer. And also, a tree falling makes me wonder if any birds were nesting in it, then it would be doubly tragic. And birds have enough trouble surviving in a world with high-rises and their windows, wind turbines, your outdoor cat and avian traitors such as hawks, crows and owls. Never wish to be a bird. Flight is cool, but it’s not worth the accompanying fear and peril.
There are people, I hate to admit, who love birds a bit more aggressively than I do, and they’re the sort who protest anything disturbing them and their habitats, and that extends to trimming trees as well as protesting fireworks and their attendant racket that can cause birds to scatter and perhaps abandon their nests or chicks.
While their heart is in the right place, their protection might’ve found a fatal flaw last Friday when a tree near the Boathouse on the Bay, the site of the annual July 3 Big Bang on the Bay block party and fireworks show, fell down and was removed.
On Friday, Boathouse boss John Morris showed up at the restaurant and found the tree on its side, falling into the marina. He asked city workers who was responsible for cutting the tree down. The answer was nobody cut it down. It just fell over, top-heavy, they said, from years of not being trimmed in deference to the bird advocates who protested any trimming of the tree.
Naturally, I called Ann Cantrell, the woman who is invariably at the vanguard of the bird-protection brigade, and Brent Mardian, a marine scientist with Pi Environmental who consults with the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles among others and has been involved with keeping the Big Bang in compliance with environmental issues for years.
Like me and Cantrell, and perhaps even Morris, Mardian is a huge fan of birds and trees. “I hate to see a tree fall or birds killed. I’m an environmentalist,” he said. “But sometimes things go too far in trying to protect them. They prevented the city from trimming the trees and if you can’t maintain them, you lose them. So now we’ve lost the tree and everything went away.”
But Cantrell, who called her friend and environmentalist colleague Anna Christensen of the Sierra Club, who is more familiar with the tree in question, blamed the trimming of the tree’s roots to accommodate stairs in the marina. So the rusty fig was either too heavy on top or too light on bottom, or maybe both.
Mardian said his group counted four or five nests in the trees, but he felt confident that, with breeding season over, no chicks were in the nests when the tree fell. But the habitat is definitely gone. Everybody loses.
Or, if you look at it a bit on the darker side: Problem solved.
What I watched over the weekend
Nothing great. Lots of swings and misses eating into my research-packed supposed days of rest.
Tried Netflix’s “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah,” just to give Adam Sandler a shot. He didn’t do much shooting and I bailed less than halfway through. I think I might be old. But if that’s the case, I should be too old to enjoy “Theater Camp” on Hulu, but I enjoyed the talent-packed hilarity of the summer acting camp in the Adirondacks. Ben Platt stars in the comedy that nicely evades all of the usual summer-camp tropes and sticks with the work of talented young campers.
I wasted a measurable portion of my life watching the four-part documentary “Never Let Him Go,” which follows the decades-long quest by American Steve Johnson to determine how his brother Scott died in 1988. It’s at least an episode too long as these true-crime documentaries tend to be, and its ending is satisfying only in the fact that it ends. It does ask the bigger question: How many killings go unsolved because there wasn’t a rich person with the finances to flit back and forth between Boston and Australia and put up $1 million for a reward.
What I’m reading now
The time I squandered watching streaming offerings pretty much destroyed my reading time, which I’m using to re-read “Body & Soul,” a terrific music-based novel by musician and writer Frank Conry, which I’ve recommended here before and am now doing it again.
After that, maybe “Holly” by Stephen King. Even though I certainly don’t like everything by King, I bought the book just to thumb my nose at Dan Bongino, the failed Fox News commentator who has been using up valuable Twitter space hurling insipid kiddie insults at King. Bongino writes books too. Nobody reads them.