was disturbing the Sunday peace and using a chainsaw. One of the neighbours complained about this when I went, cautiously, outside to try and find out what was going on.
The neighbour had been around to investigate. He came across and told me who it was and what he was doing.
It did not surprise me but it did disgust me. The chainsaw user is a man who talks long and often (I will not say "incessantly" as that would not be true) about the need for everyone to be concerned about global warming. It is one of his pet themes of conversation, along with the iniquities of the new Federal government, waste of taxpayer monies, council rates and a few other things. I am sure most people know someone like him.
Yes, he is concerned about global warming, very concerned. He is so concerned about it that he protests. He writes letters. He demands to see his local and federal MPs about the issue.
At the same time he lives in an environment that I would, until this weekend, have called "almost sterile". His back yard is, according the people who live either side of him "paved" with artificial lawn.
His front yard has a few struggling dusty "natives" and the tree. The tree was, like many in the district, a jacaranda. In full flower they are magnificent. Their purple lace against the rough grey-brown of the bark and the blue of the sky is something that people take the time to photograph. There are several long streets you can look down and see one jacaranda after another. The roads and footpaths are paved with purple. The air is filled with a faint but definite odour of honey.
Oh yes, jacarandas drop flowers and pods and other bits and pieces. They make a mess. Most people love the mess. It says "spring" and "summer is on the way". The flowers never last long, a few weeks at the most. The pods are more of a nuisance but they can be handled and most people are more than happy to deal with them.
But no, he is not happy to deal with them. We should be rid of all jacarandas. He is "campaigning" for this. So far nobody has taken any notice of this.
His wife has wanted to keep the jacaranda. She would love a real garden but he insists there is no time for them to have one. They both work full time. Obviously he has finally won the argument - or just doing it anyway. The tree has been removed. No doubt there will be more noxious artificial lawn put in to replace. It will look green but it still requires maintenance. In summer it is hot and it can, I believe, give off a nasty gas. The artificial lawns I have seen look impossibly well manicured. Give me the real stuff.
I associate the flowering of the jacarandas with the death of my mother. As they were coming into flower she was dying. We were travelling backwards and forwards each day to the hospital and watching the flowers open and the sky fill. I told him this once and he could not understand why I would ever want to see a jacaranda.
Well, a flowering jacaranda is a beautiful thing. Forget the mess. It is a tree, a living tree. The birds play football with the pods and pieces. It provides shade in the summer.
And the other day I saw a toddler run up to one of those jacarandas and hug it. Isn't that a good enough reason to make sure we keep them?