The tree pancake

Q: How is a tree like a pancake?

A: When it’s on Somerset Street.

I wonder how someone managed to hit it so hard, and with what? That metal “tree guard” (designed mostly to ward of bicycles) didn’t help much in this case. And those LED fairy lights in the tree canopy won’t be lasting out their reputed 20 year lifespan.

One inanimate plastic bollard survived just great. As did the pay and display parking meter. But the tree …


I wonder if it will be replaced, or if the hole will simply be bricked over. And if it is replaced, will it survive or even thrive?

A long long time when I lived in another house a few blocks from were I do now, a drunko going back to Hull (as it was known back then) left the road in front of my row of houses, took out a nice NCC-provided oak tree in a curbed planter, then tore tire ruts into the sod for a half block, before coming to rest against a wooden utility pole at the intersection of Albert. The newspaper report said the city would charge the motorist for replacing the wooden pole.

So I phoned the city, “would they also charge him for the tree?”

“What tree??? There is no tree on the police accident report. ”

“Ah, the tree s/he hit before s/he hit the post,” I said.

“Well,” city employee asked, “how do you know s/he hit the tree, did you witness the accident?”

“No, but you can see the tire tracks go through the tree, along the lawn, and into the post …”

“Well, ( triumphantly) do you have photographic evidence?”

“As a matter of fact, I took two pictures, and will get the roll developed when I have shot the rest of the film. I can give you the photos then.”

“Oh (disappointed), can you identify the driver and swear that it was him?”

“No, it happened during the early hours of the morning when I was asleep.”

“Well, it sounds like there is nothing we can do about it, with no identification, no witnesses, and no police report.”

Some months went by. The next year, the tree still hadn’t been replaced. So I phoned the City to demand a replacement since every townhouse had a tree in front of it, except this one, that had no tree. I got a similar run around. Is the tree on your property? It’s on the space between my driveway and the neighbours. Well, we’ll need their permission, they’ll have to request it,  in writing, before we consider a tree. And there is a wait list for private property trees. It is your property, i pointed out, and you had the opportunity to charge the guy who knocked its predecessor over … And so on and so on.

I sometimes think things have gotten better over the years.

Other times, I’m not persuaded at all.


3 thoughts on “The tree pancake

  1. The first question that came to mind was why the city would plant the tree so close to the road. Snow plow operators could clip it as they make their way down the road, although that is a low probability event, given the fact that so very few push the snow anywhere near the curb. Having said that, a large truck with wide side mirrors, and as we have seen, someone who doesn’t see fit to stay within the curbs are all known hazards. Even if the poor twig survived its interactions with vehicles, it would be faced with overcoming soil pollution as the salt bearing snow banks and slush melt.

  2. Everybody doing his job, and not a iota more.
    Some time ago, I found a wallet left on the bathroom floor in a hospital.
    The wallet was full of cards, ID and others, but no money, no phone number.
    It might have been dropped there by the owner, or maybe by a robber after taking the money.
    I brought the wallet to the security desk (maybe they could contact the owner).
    I was told “You found a wallet.. So? Not our business”

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