There’s a tree in the road
Not in the middle
But it can’t be confused for being
Two cars cannot pass abreast
Polite driving may be necessary
Who was in charge of the decision
To trust human nature,
To entrust safety and cooperation to those who follow?
I arrived after this phenomenon was well-established
How could this be? How did it come to be?
The road was an afterthought
Paved years after the tree was firm
Autos rarely passed this way, lorries never
Should you wish to traverse
The tree takes precedence
As river traffic takes precedence over vehicles crossing a bridge
The bridgekeeper must obey - the tree is firm not flowing.
The tree was a sapling when the road was built
A mere twiglet unobserved by most
Her massive trunk growing imperceptibly year after year
One ring after another
Until tectonic forces lifted the road ocean floor
Becoming one with the tree mountain.
The tree was well established and observed to be a hazard
But the road is small
And the beauty of the oak
And the comfort of the shade
Bring joy to those
Walking and living
Cars be damned
Let them find their way. However it is
Our civil engineers are conducting an experiment
There are conflicting interests
Between the Road Advocates and the Tree-ers
RA: “For safety sake, Tear Down That Tree!”
Tree-ers: “We can live in harmony”
Germany or Switzerland
A tie vote. What to do?
Mr. Hitchins, a kind community-minded resident
Willed to the City, fair, the once-thin alleyway
Which grew into a shunway; then a dirt trench; then a passage
Passing from the lonely two way street in front
Through to the loading area behind.
From 1856 until 1973 the road was sparsely used.
Upon proclamation of the Burghers
“Civilised society warrants paved roads.”
Whereupon the deed was dusted off
Provision 12.b.1. of Mr. Hitchens’ will:
“Let it be known to all who hear these words,
that the strip of land running from Virginia Street
to Ferris St, on Platt 687, recorded in book 14009
be and forever is the property of the Fair City
subject only to the right of my favorite tree, Emily, the Oak
to forever reside as she currently is - just on the West side of the strip.”
I arrived long after this phenomenon was established.