Every single one of them.
They are building a school hall which is nice for the kids and all that but I shudder to think of all the little animal homes that have disappeared with the loss of over ten well-established trees.
My neighbour, Dot, who is a painter and has lived in the street for fifty years says the maples were there when she moved in. She thinks they might have been a hundred years old. We both shed a tear at that, holding each other as if the world is moving too quickly and we are in danger of falling off.
Neither of us can speak when we see the birds flying overhead thinking they have gone off course when they can’t see the trees they are used to. It is hard to find a tree that feels like home, Dot says.
I have a feeling she is right.
Dot will miss the crunch of the leaves underfoot and gathering up armfuls of them to try and match the colours in her paintings. I will miss the shadows, curlicues and whirls on the back fence in the evening light.
We will both miss the birds frolicking in the branches. The fruit bats scolding one another. The possums leaping.
When summer comes I am sure we will long for the shade cast on the ground cool as a forest. We will miss the little pointed berries. The smell of the seeds underfoot like a strange kind of cinnamon.
That’s progress for you, Dot says, putting her sketch pad away.
I try to remember the golden light that fell every afternoon. But it is gone. All that remains is the blue sky, unceasing and wide.
I walk inside and close the back door. The night is enormous in its silence.