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Can’t tell the tears from the rain

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

Maybe the rain will stop by this evening. Maybe this wild and somber day filled with every kind of precipitation will just continue as it started. Whatever happens, I feel that the day's weather mirrors how I feel today.

We will gather this evening to pay our respects to an elder in our community. The bur oak at 115 Northwestern is certainly a “distinctive” tree by anyone’s definition. Yet the City of Ottawa has issued a permit that allows it to be cut. There is nothing any of us in Champlain Park can do to stop this from happening.

What is the tree’s offence? Why has it been sentenced to death in its prime? It just happens to be growing in a place that is “inconvenient” for people who value the kinds of things in life that are, in fact, devoid of life.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to have a second-floor bedroom looking out into the canopy of this sturdy and massive bur oak? The property sits at the very north end of Northwestern Ave., just one house away from the bike path and greenspace owned by the National Capital Commission. Someone who loves the leafy canopy of summer, the stark winter silhouette of a bur oak tree, and the life that all trees offer as support to other life in an urban environment would revel in a home so close to the river and so blessed with an older oak tree. There is no indication that this tree is diseased or distressed. Careful planning during construction and a creative home design would allow the tree to thrive and give a homeowner the truly unique experience of living next to a vital part of the natural world, just a stone’s throw from downtown Ottawa! But this is not to be.

Our neighbourhood has 24 healthy and large bur oaks. They are a unique characteristic of this place that we enjoy living in. One of them will soon be taken from the group. Today, I can’t tell the tears from the rain. --Debra Huron

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