09 November, 2005


Where is the Lorax when you need him?

Oli drove me into my apartment block this afternoon, like every day. But something was different. It was a beautiful sunny late-Spring afternoon. But something was wrong. It was too sunny. Realising what had happened, I rushed up to my floor and out onto the little balcony that leads off the laundry room. Even though I knew this was coming, my heart sank. The entire fence-line of the adjoining property has always been planted with a thick row of trees. These trees provided shade from the Northern summer sun. They created a lovely leafy vista outside the whole of my huge living-room window. They were home to innumerable birds and several possums. This afternoon, every tree was gone.

The entire lot has been bulldozed. The culprit - a run-down dark orange metal monster, tagged with grubby black grafitti and pock-marked with rust - was still sitting there triumphantly. Around him, the wreckage of his day's work: the tumbled rubble of what was once a large family home, and the strewn corpses of countless trees. The sun now beats upon the unprotected North wall of my building. My living-room window looks down on a sparse and scattered scene of desolation. Beyond, over the rooftops, you can see all the way to the
St Ignatius spire atop Richmond Hill.

That, however, will be short-lived. As soon as the ruins are cleared away, construction will begin on two towering modern townhouses made of slab-concrete. The true villain is not the dirty orange machine who struck the blows, nor indeed the man who operated the Beast. No, lovers and dreamers, save your boos and hisses for a local property-investor, who conveniently lives just round the corner. (Earlier this year, the high pale wall of his residence was spraypainted "YUPPY DOG". Who am I to disagree?) He recently purchased the property next to my building and - despite strong protests from ALL his neighbours - decided to "develop" it, creating soulless mass-produced lego-houses he can rent to plebs like me for his own personal gain.

So... No more birds. No more leafy curtain outside my window. No more possums. Angular concrete and squares of glass. Henceforth, this will be my vista.

All hail, the glorious God of Progress.

I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.


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