My partner thinks I’m mad. He’s probably right, but I just can’t help myself.
You see, I’ve just spent the last hour – an hour of our FIRST day without the girls in many, MANY months – typing out a letter to my neighbours.
Here is the letter:
Hello. My name is Elle, and I live with my family on Kareela Meander.
As part of our front garden renovations, we will shortly be ordering a new verge tree. I notice you do not currently have a verge tree and I was wondering if you would like me place an order for you at the same time.
I believe strongly that increasing the canopy cover in our little area of Tapping will benefit us in many ways, providing more shade, a more attractive environment, and a knock on effect to better wellbeing and increased house appeal when it comes to selling.
You may be interested to know I’ve also requested a tree for our mini-roundabout.
Please complete the form below, and leave it outside for me to collect.
Thank you so much for your time.
My partner thinks what I’m doing makes absolutely no sense, and that – when my neighbours read my letter – they will either laugh at me or take offence. He thinks that if someone wanted a verge tree, they would just order it themselves and not go to the trouble of filling out my makeshift form. He thinks I’m making work for myself for no sensible reason. And, as I said before, he thinks I’m crazy. A crazy tree lady. Good job he loves me, isn’t it?
You know, I cannot tell you why I currently have such an obsession with trees. No-one else seems to feel the same way as me, and I’m not the only one exposed to the destruction of bushland in this part of Perth.
The last time I remember feeling so incensed about the environment and its destruction was when I was a teenager and my parents bought me a copy of Earthrise: The Rainforest Album. It featured songs such as Yes We Can by Artists United For Nature, Is This The World We Created by Queen and heart-wrenching classic, Saltwater by Julian Lennon. I remember lying on the floor of my bedroom, studying the photographs of decimated (yes, I know decimated means reduced to a tenth) rainforests that were featured on the sleeve, and just crying and crying and crying….
I feel the same way now, when I see the upended roots of native trees as I travel to work past the sprawl of new developments, when I see the vast areas of nothingness where there once existed bushland and animals and birds and life, and when I see the alien bulldozers sweep over the land like it exists only for them, making piles, moving piles, removing piles. And then the houses move in, houses very much like the one in which I live. Yes, I’m not any better than anyone else. I needed a place for my family, a place that I could afford (when I entered the housing market), my place on the sunset coast, my little piece of Australia.
If I knew now…
I get it. I get that we need houses. But I see things differently now to when I first built my house. If I was the person I am now back then, I would have done my utmost best to save up a deposit and buy an ESTABLISHED house. Maybe I would have RENTED one of the 50 PER CENT of rental houses that currently reside EMPTY in Perth!! (Buy one house and live in it, guys! No need to be greedy). Or maybe I would have bought a block that was already cleared or degraded. Or maybe if was I really rich, I would have bought HUNDREDS OF ACRES and preserved as much bushland as possible.
Back to my letter
My letter to the neighbours. Here’s what I think. Here’s what I hope. I hope that when they read it, they will turn to their family and say, ‘Oh, yes! What do you think, guys?we’ve been meaning to order a verge tree, haven’t we, but things have just been so busy lately. This letter’s a good reminder. Shall we get this kind neighbour to arrange it for us? Or perhaps we can just go online now and do it for ourselves?’ And then they will get excited about having a new tree in their front garden, plan a trip to Bunnings for some more plants and plan a day of gardening with their family.
Maybe I’m going a little too far.
On the other hand, maybe they will read my letter and screw it up and throw it in the bin. And every time they see me passing by, they will cover their mouths and snigger, pointing at me after I’ve gone, calling me the Crazy Tree Lady and wondering if I shave my arm pits.
But you know what. I don’t really care. Because we’re moving soon. What I do care about though, is the trees I will leave behind me in this little piece of suburbia.
What are your thoughts on my letter? Do you think it’s too preachy? Should I tone it down? How do you think my neighbours will react? Tell me in the comments 🙂