for the love of trees

09/09/17 09:59

Hurricanes always remind me what a tree lover I am. Perhaps it’s because, since college, I’ve lived in cities, where they seem more precious because of their scarcity. In South Florida they’re not rare, but those that aren’t palms – which a Midwestern friend of mine could never accept as legitimate trees – are often imported. Even some of the fruit bearing ones we think of as indigenous.

I live on a man-made island on the New River that contains six condos of five stories each and an eclectic collection of trees, a few of them as tall as the buildings. These last few days I’ve looked at them with a kind of pre-wistfulness. The reason there are so few tall trees in this part of the country – apart from the flexible palms – is that they don’t survive hurricanes. And I’ve tried to console myself with the knowledge that they are not native, and that a post-Category 5 landscape would be, for all its bareness and brightness (the former Herald reporter Michael Browning, writing his first story after Andrew, began with the words: “There is too much sky.”) a more authentic South Florida landscape. But I would still dearly miss the trees.

By Thomas Swick • Category: hometown

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