The Ginkgo is Dead. Long Live the Ginkgo.
As often is the case this time of year, my thoughts turned from summer to fall one August day. Usually triggered by a certain crispness in the air or the perception of a slight change in the sun's angle, this pre-autumnal premonition is linked to a back-to-school wistfulness for me. "Summer's over, get back to the grind," Mother Nature calls out sternly.
But this time, the feeling had neither to do with dry, cool air, nor with a lowering of light. It was a shabby carpet of leaves, brown and yellow, littering the pavement in front of 878 West End Avenue. "Fall is here," they screeched as I kicked through them on my way home. But a month too soon.
And then I stopped. Looked up. And realized. Not at all, chump. It is still summer. But we've lost the tree. You know the one. The ginkgo that when all is said and done will have been felled violently yet in slow motion. Begun by an axe to the trunk early this past spring, the end will come with the city grinding out the stump sometime one full orbit of the sun later. And in between we will watch this stressed tree wither and die and stand there as atrocious punctuation.
This year, the vandal will not smell the ginkgo berries. This year, we will not behold a fiery yellow and orange canopy. This year, instead, out will come an adolescent killed before its prime. And, if we're lucky, next year in will go a twin. Perversity dictates that it be a fruit-bearing ginkgo.
A before and after for your consideration below. But what about us, before and after, neighbors?