To everything, even these trees, there is a season. But I am sad.

Felled trees on Queensborough Road

It broke my heart to see these felled trees on Queensborough Road this week. Nothing lives forever, of course – but that doesn’t mean one can’t be sad to see the trees go. For me, there is a bit of a personal connection to them: my dad used to tap them to make maple syrup in the spring.

Residents of Queensborough who have had occasion to drive to “town” (Madoc) this past week will have doubtless seen that several large and venerable maple trees on the stretch of Queensborough Road just west of Cedar School Road have been cut down. I confess that when I spotted the first ones taken out, as I was coming home from work at the beginning of the week, I was so surprised that it almost didn’t register. When I saw crews at work starting to do more the next morning – and, that afternoon, the stumps that were the end result – it sank in: those trees, to which I have more than a bit of a personal attachment, were gone.

That personal attachment is twofold:

First, in my childhood – and for many long years before that, something I know from talking to local residents, or former residents, who are even older than I am – the branches of those trees formed the north side of a glorious living canopy over the road. When one drove toward or away from Queensborough anytime from mid-spring through late fall, one passed under this beautiful arch of foliage from the maple trees on both sides of the road, and it was just a lovely, lovely thing. Everyone who ever saw it remembers it – and regrets the fact that, sometime in the late 1970s or so, the trees on the south side were cut down for a planned road-widening that I don’t believe ever happened. (Though if I’m wrong on that, please correct me.)

My second reason for being attached to those trees is that in my childhood here at the Manse, my father, The Rev. Wendell Sedgwick – who was a farmer, woodlot manager, maple-syrup-maker, etc., as well as being a United Church minister – tapped those maples every spring. And my siblings and I, and many other Queensborough kids, would accompany him in his old truck on springtime evenings to collect the sap from the buckets hanging from them (scrambling over the historic split-rail fences to do so). And we would be rewarded with maple taffy on snow – made from the syrup being boiled down on the wood stove in the Manse’s kitchen – at the end of our evening’s work. Those are among the very happiest memories of my entire life. (I wrote about Dad and those maple-syrup days here.)

tree stump

Was this tree dead? I’m no expert so I can’t say. Certainly those old trees didn’t look all that great. But I’m still sad.

But this is not (contrary to what you might be expecting) going to be a rant over big old trees being cut down. Since Raymond and I bought the Manse, we have often remarked (sadly) on how those old trees along Queensborough Road were not looking all that healthy. Mind you, neither of us is an arborist, and for all we knew they were healthier than they looked. But they didn’t look all that good.

I figured that as (unofficial) head of the Queensborough news bureau, I had a bit of an obligation to find out what exactly was going on with the felled trees. So last night I called up Bob Sager, the reeve of Madoc Township (that’s where the trees are – or at least, were), son of the late Allan and Isabella Sager (whose long-ago wedding right here at the Manse I wrote about here), and someone who (as he confirmed to me) remembers as well as anyone that canopy of trees from long ago. Mr. Sager said that the trees in question were indeed in bad shape: dead, or soon to be. The township wants to repave the road, he said, and did not want to risk having trees fall on the roadway. And he also had some good news: that the younger, healthy trees along the stretch will be left in place.

So there’ll still be maples along Queensborough Road. And they’ll get bigger, and someday (one hopes) they will be as large and beautiful as the newly cut ones were. Though unless there is a project to replant maples on the south side of the road, I guess we will never replace the canopy that so many of us remember so fondly.

Or… wait a minute… Maybe there could be such a project?

I may have to call up the reeve again. Is anybody else in?

10 thoughts on “To everything, even these trees, there is a season. But I am sad.

  1. Eloise informed me that my messages have not reached you. Did this one travel the right road? I just want you to know that I’m sorry you are sad. I can understand though. Lorraine


  2. It breaks my heart to see trees cut for any reason…such a sense of loss. The modern war on fence-lines (hedgerows) to create monster fields for more efficient cultivation with giant equipment is particularly dismal. And the loss of those canopies of old maples along country roads…in many cases the only beauty among hard farms and their struggling buildings.

  3. Hi Katherine: Sorry to be tardy. Your blog is in my social section of g mail which I seldom check. I must try to figure out to transpose it to primary. Anyhow April 25 is Arbor day which was a big event back in the day (early 1900’s) May I suggest you are the one to re-vive it and have these maples replaced. In fact do a tour of the township and shake a few trees. Lets start SOT Save Our Trees. I have the same problem here in Leed and Grenville.

    • Hey Gordon, wonderful to hear from you! Interesting that you should mention Arbor Day; there was an article by the resident travel writer in the Central Hastings News last week about the Nebraska town that is the birthplace of Arbor Day. Having a local Arbor Day is an extremely intriguing idea. I’m not sure I’d be able to get it organized for this April 25 (though I’d love it if someone else in the Greater Queensborough Area could), but perhaps Arbor Day 2015 could see a planting of new maples along Queensborough Road. That would be so lovely. Thank you for the idea!

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