(need for) Another topic

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Dec 2 12:47:26 EST 2003

On Tue, 2 Dec 2003 14:21:32 +0000, minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:

>Melissa badly needed distraction,  So do I.  :-(

>Oh yes, do let's have something cheerful and engrossing!  When we moved
>into this house twenty-some years ago I could look out of any of the
>windows and see trees.  There were ten big beautiful trees out front up the
>road in various gardens, and the same out the back.  At the moment three
>men with chainsaws are cutting down next door's two, one at the back and
>one at the front, another at the front went a month ago -- well, no, it
>didn't entirely go, it was cut off in a horizontal line ten foot from the
>ground, and it will die slowly over the next couple of years.  Only four
>trees left, and the only one I feel sure is safe now is the rowan tree in
>our own garden.  This makes me very miserable.  Cheer me up...

Here's a story for you.  My neighbors across the street have magnificent
trees.  Their house is perpendicular to mine so I can see both their yards
at the same time; they have a HUGE tree filling the sky that is beautiful to
watch in all seasons, between the leaves in summer and the flocks of black
birds that roost in it on their migrations in fall.  They also have two
trees growing in the strip of land between the curb and the sidewalk.  Two
years ago I looked out my front window to discover that those trees had been
hacked away to virtual stumps.  The trunks were still there, as were the
nubbins of what had been the main branches, but basically they looked like
giant logs still standing upright.  I thought this was some kind of
tree-removal technique and I waited all winter for them to die.  But instead
they started putting out leaves, like Chia pets, and now they are as lush as
they ever were, only less messy--they leaf? sprout? bud? comparatively close
to the ground and we had to duck under them when we walked past.  This would
be a better story if these were intrinsically beautiful trees, but they're
rather aggressively homely.  Still, it's life, and it keeps on going.  I'm
the opposite of a gardener, whatever that is, so I don't know what kind of
tree this is or why this treatment is needed, but the homeowner told me a
few months ago that it was something that was common for this breed.  "But
even I didn't believe they'd come back this well, when they were cut back so
far," she said.  I am a Pacific Northwest girl, where the houses appear to
sprout in the forest because the trees grow so fast, but it took living in
this desert to appreciate just how tenaciously plants will cling to whatever
chance of life they have.

I know that doesn't make it any better that the neighbors are murdering
their trees, but there you go.  I'm so glad I don't live in one of the raw
new neighborhoods where the trees are all saplings.  I don't know why that
is so depressing to me--eventually they'll get big and start bullying each
other--but it is.

>>I have no idea what I'm doing right now.  I spent the afternoon being
>>seriously pissed off at someone who complained about an out-of-context
>>remark in one of my posts (elsewhere) as being an example of the double
>>standard of moderating that is plaguing the list.  The guy is constantly on
>>about people who are allowed to say "offensive" things and why can't he ever
>>respond, etc.  In my case...well, he's just clearly nuts, that's all.  But I
>>still wanted to use him for howitzer practice.  I have anger issues.  :)
>Maybe the difference between the sin of anger and the proper behaviour
>known as "righteous wrath" is what you need to get clear for yourself?
>I''d've thought that in the case you describe what you're feeling isn't
>naughty peeve but justified fury, so *you* don't have to have an issue with
>it, you can just let yourself feel Grrrrrrrrrrr and know that you're
>entitled to.

It's not the feeling that's the problem, it's the violent reaction that
bothers me.  I seem to be flying off the handle much more easily these days,
and since I spent my youth learning to control my temper, it's unnerving.
This guy really did deserve my anger.  I've seen what he's written to the
moderator--antagonistic, reprehensible accusations of partisanship--because
I'm on the moderating board, and he has a giant grudge against the literati
that makes him take offense where none is given.  But I wasn't just angry, I
was furious enough that it spilled over into my interactions with my
children, and I wanted him to suffer.  That's more like self-righteous
wrath, I think.  I try to make the distinction between what I feel and what
I do about it, because my usual reaction to injustice, evil, or pain is
anger; even if my anger is justified, that does not justify any and all
actions I might take.

Beating up something else like a plate or a pillow might have worked.  Pity
I don't have any old dishes I can smash.  At any rate, I feel less enraged
now.  (The moderator was much more calm than I was, but then he has to be

Still.  Anyone who lectures me about how pedantic and arrogant I am had
better be prepared for a fight.

Melissa Proffitt

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