In few other paces do individual trees become so well known and loved as in the city. Many urban trees are given membership within the community. Or, from the trees’ perspective, the membership that they always had is seen and appreciated by people. The particularities of each tree’s form and place is celebrated. A looming death brings both anticipatory grief and zealous care.
This catalpa growing on a street in Chicago’s North Side (Andersonville) has a twisted trunk and bark marked by a long, vertical wound. In winter, the tree might pass for dead. So the human neighbors have pinned the tree with textual and photographic evidence of its vigor. The message: “they tell me you are crooked and I answer…” city workers, do not cut. The other message: we people, this tree, this place; we belong.