12 November 2011

Goodbye to an old friend

Every day I pass the corner of the lake with the Nile and the rounded benches. I always check my boys to make sure that they are all right, and yesterday was no exception. Only this time something was terribly wrong, I saw the damage right away: the beautiful old tree was gone, chopped up in two neat piles on the sidewalk. From looking at the remains, I am pretty sure it was sick, but that doesn't make it any less devastating. I have to wonder if pollution have played a part in weakening the old tree, with the city's highest level of exhaust particles on this very stretch? A level so toxic that those of us living near the lakes are discouraged from opening our windows during the daytime. Damn you traffic!

No matter why it had to go, it shouldn't just be send off with a shrug. It is not just an old tree, but a piece of Copenhagen history, just imagine the things it has seen? People who can't get the least bit emotional over the magnitude of this loss scare me, but then I am also made of butter. I think the old tree at least deserves a ceremony of a kind, a thank you for a lifetime of absorbing noise, cleaning the air and sharing its beauty. Imagine, it was around for this:

This is one of the few pictures I have where the tree is actually in the shot (the tallest one, near the left corner). In a way all my pictures of that area have revolved around it, either by being my cropping point, or the one I was standing under to catch the sunset. This is how I will remember it:

The last picture


  1. I so love old trees, they are like anchors, sturdy and reliable and they are one of the rarest things bringing peace to cities. I'm sorry CPH lost one of them.

  2. Oh, Carole, that is exactly what they are: anchors. I am sorry too, and I hope it is not going to happen to the rest of them, ugh. Stay strong boys.

  3. Sandra, you did us all a favor by pausing to remember this tree, and by sharing that with all of us. Thanks . . .

  4. Hi Kelly,
    you are so welcome. Most probably think that it is no big deal with a single tree gone, but every single one counts, and this was one of the old boys. I am happy that you agree it should be appreciated one last time.

  5. First the old Chestnut tree on Enghave Plads, and now the big tree at the queen's bridge. Hope this isn't a trend in the city - since I'm also a "tree hugger" ;-)

  6. Hi Drumstick, I was thinking the same thing. How many of our old trees must go before people start paying attention? Just saying: oh, well, it was sick, it can't be helped, is not good enough.

    Dismissing the option to re-locate the old chestnut tree was a wrong signal to send. It meant a lot to the neighbourhood, and it should have been offered a fighting chance.

  7. There used to be a very nice tree outside of our office window (we are on the 6th floor of our building), which was probably planted when this building was built, in the mid-1950's. We really appreciated it, as it was pretty, and it kept the sunlight from coming directly in our windows in the summer afternoons, and it made for such nice, filtered light. Then suddenly, we came to work one day and it was gone. I, and one of my then co-workers who was also a friend of mine held a small ceremony for it, a moment of silence, and a small mourning. It was as if an acquaintance had died. I still miss it sometimes as I look out our windows.

    Any object with that much weight deserves to be remembered. I think they leave a presence there, much as we ourselves do, when we are gone. A tree is a bit like a human heart, I think. Heavily rooted, deep, and quite mysterious.

  8. Hi Dave,
    I had a feeling that you would understand. Our trees are living things, and they do affect our lives, I find it so strange when people find me so strange for feeling that way.

    Good thing that you had a ceremony for the tree outside your workspace, and that you had someone who felt the same way. I felt really alone when I discovered the tree gone, and cut into pieces, it totally ruined my day.

    But now we have given it a moment, and it makes it all better. :-)

  9. I just ran across this on my computer - this is the tree that was outside our window at work http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/6346516720/

    That was our view out the window. Now it is a concrete parking garage :(

    And we are minus one friend. Or at least, I am.

    Say hello, though, perhaps you can still be friends :)

  10. Wow, if this was the view from the sixth floor, this must have been huge. So beautiful, I understand why you miss it. If they chopped it down to make a garage... that would just be too cruel. It should be illegal to remove something so beautiful, I feel like these old guys are not ours to destroy, but something on loan from past generations to pass on to future ones. If we don't nurture and plant now, what will be left in fifty years? Lawns?

  11. Thankfully they didn't cut it down to build the garage, it was already there and the tree just mercifully blocked our view :)


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