Our first day back, we got a call from our good friends who live around the corner from us. They invited us over for cupcakes and trampoline jumping (much to Mercy’s complete delight), and as we walked to the corner we were both caught off guard by the appearance of our street. Directly north of our house, Kenwood looked completely different than it did when we left and it took us a second to figure out what was so strange. The street looked plucked; bare. And we realized that a series of trees had been removed and others had been thinned and topped. The overall effect is that our street that was once almost completely canopied is now exposed.
When L.A. hosted the Olympics years ago, our neighborhood received some hasty beautification measures due to our proximity to the events. A series of large, leafy trees were planted to line our street, and I am certain that they indeed had a transforming effect on its appearance. A side effect that was either unforeseen or disregarded, however, was that the root systems of these trees were stronger than our sidewalks, and it was simply a matter of time before the roots erupted, causing giant fissures in the cement. The end result is that if I wish to walk my children to the park in a stroller, I am forced to use the middle of the street since it is impossible to steer a stroller over the giant cracks. I am sure that these “mountains” as Mercy and I call them provide great fun for kids on bikes, however they make our street prohibitive to anyone in a wheelchair, and they force moms like me to risk sharing the road with the cars that race recklessly down our street to avoid the traffic on Normandie.
Kenwood has also always been the darkest street in the neighborhood, and the heavy foliage cover has certainly contributed to this. I have seen the city come and trim the trees once in the four years I have lived here, and that was a few months ago.
All this to say, I should be grateful that a problem in our community is finally being addressed. And I am. But my immediate reaction was to how ugly the street is now without the color and texture given to it by those trees. It is interesting how we sometimes get the thing we long for, the thing that is good for us, and then we end up wishing we still had the thing that caused all the problems in the first place.