McKinney's motto is "Unique by Nature" and recently has been taken to test by one of our neighbors in the historic district. Our most profound natural resource in the downtown area is the trees. They are old, big & bold with their canopies embracing our streets and homes.
I have never taken McKinney's old trees for granted. I notice them every morning walking my dogs. They are our foundation, protecting us from the elements. If you sit long enough, quietly enough, you can feel them weep on you. Tiny droplets of moisture cooling us under their care. They give us a reason to pause through each changing season to look at the sunrise and sunset . We look at them to see what direction the wind is blowing. Is it a flutter of leaves or are they bowing down to an awful storm?
We must remember that before people came, these were rolling fields inhabited by many generations of creatures that lived in our neighborhoods. Trees are the center of many a creature's universe. Bats flitting through long branches at dusk eating the insects flying about. Hawks & owls sitting on the top branches, covey of dove resting there, squirrels barking & chasing up their giant trunks, woodpeckers and numerous species of little birds all congregating.
When I hear a chain saw, I am taken back. It's not shocking to hear the rumble & bite of the saws after a storm. It's "the out of the blue" chain saw that causes that sinking feeling. That is exactly what happened last week. The big tree across the street had lost its fight to live. It was a monumental tree, however, the last few years with torrential rains and droughts, dwindled it into to a terrible state for a tree. Disease and old age had taken it's toll. I heard the chainsaws and couldn't even watch what was happening. I pulled my curtains and silently mourned the loss. How could I look out my front door and not see the tree? How can I accept this?
This past week I walked my dogs in the opposite direction and chose to walk before sunrise to avoid any visual contact with the tree. I was obviously in denial about its demise. However, the day before yesterday, early in the morning, I ventured a new route with my dog and came back past that tree. I knew they had been out there with a chain saw but, seemed they couldn't cut it. I thought maybe it was too big for their arborist to get it removed. I had to look. To my surprise and delight, there was an owl carved low into the tree trunk. The homeowner was outside and I had to learn about this development.
Upcycled and here to stay. My heart was overjoyed. He & his wife had been to Galveston and saw what the residents there had done to their storm ravaged trees. Tree sculptures are everywhere in their historic district. Monuments, of a sort, to honor the once beautiful trees that lined their city. Here is the first to hit historic McKinney, creating an incredible work of art! I cannot tell you how wonderful I felt. He told me the tree existed prior to the 110 year old home being built.
They found a chain saw artist, Rob Banda, to redefine this fabulous old tree. Their landscape consultant, Rhonda Quintero located the artist for this garden she knows all too well. She has overseen the care of this yard and garden for 10 years. The homeowners and Rhonda's dedication to this yard is obvious. With such a drastic change, the squirrels are unmoved. They are still looking around, trying to find the little niches where they stashed their acorns.
The chain saw sculpture portrays an armadillo, owl, hawk and squirrel. We must remember these were rolling fields inhabited by many generations of creatures that lived here. Trees are the center of many a creature's universe. Bats flitting through long branches at dusk eating the insects flying about. Hawks & owls sitting on the top branches, covey of dove resting there, squirrels barking & chasing up their giant trunks, woodpeckers and numerous species of little birds all congregating. It's an adjustment to the landscape, but one that we can all appreciate. Time, energy & thought to preserve a tree that deserves this kind of respect is one more reason "it's all good in the hood"!
Sunsets will never be the same for me, but I will take this new life for an old tree to heart. They saved as much as they could and brought yard art to a whole new level.
Rhonda Quintero Landscape Consultant
Tree Sculpture Tour, Galveston