Before Dutch elm disease ravaged the land this beauty was common. The few remaining mature elms are rare treasures.
The lure of this elm was so powerful that I would include Creditview Road on my route to work simply to see it in the morning. The green and gold cropland surrounding it provided a lovely foil for its iconic form.
The cropland is no more. The soil that gave life to the wheat, the corn and the soybeans has been scraped bare by earth moving equipment. Denuded and sterilized, the land waits sullenly for the homes and strip malls that characterize the inexorable expansion of Brampton.
I knew the destruction of this landscape was imminent. New development announces itself with cheery signs and property stakes. But I harboured hope for the elm. Fencing had been placed around it. I thought – naively it turned out – that “my” elm would be saved.
The elm now lies ingloriously in the mud, its roots ripped from the desolate earth.
I realize that thousands of trees are felled every day in this province to feed various appetites. I realize as well that landowners have certain broad rights to do as they wish with the property they own.
But, perhaps it is time to try to enshrine some protection for trees of character – trees that rate highly for certain features including size, rarity, cultural importance and the admittedly subjective quality of beauty.
The elm will continue to influence the route I take to work. I’ll now avoid the place where it once stood.
by Don Scallen
Vice-President, Halton/North Peel Naturalist Club