As we pass high summer into the glory days of fall (the first leaves are changing, perhaps from a bit of drought), it’s time again for an observation I make every year:

Did Vancouver seem as lush and forested on its streets a year ago as it does now?  Same answer, too: Nope.  Things grow fast here (it’s almost a rain forest), and the additional growth from spring is tangible enough to make a difference in perception – especially if seen only intermittently.

Where, for instance, is this – where the trees now branch over a highway-wide corridor?  Only a decade or so ago, they seemed only samplings.*

In some parks planted in the 1990s – like Coal Harbour Green – the landscaping is already so thick that some judicious thinning is required.  It’s now more forest than greensward.

For some parks planted in the 1970s, the flowering trees have passed their best-by dates and will need to be restocked – as is happening here between Robson and Haro on Gilford, in the right-of-way for a new water line.

It’s difficult to do tree removal unless nature intervenes with disease or death.  Trees have a sacred quality in this culture, and arborists know the sound of a saw, regardless of rationale, will not be well received by the public.  There’s a sense of loss that comes with the sight of a stump – a reminder of our ruined environment, a corrupted Eden, and ultimately of our own passing.

But as the leaves turn and drop in the coming months, remember: only half a year til the first blossoms, and a lusher, greener city.


*Marine Drive through Park Royal in West Vancouver.  Note, too, how little traffic there is on this turn of the signal cycle.

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