In Which We Clear out Dead Wood


In 1988 when R man and I landed here in San Francisco, the city had just finished spiffing up Market Street, the main downtown street that runs from the bay all the way up here to the Castro. Fancy new sidewalks, new signage, and new trees, sycamores.

Street trees do not have an easy life, pollution, sidewalks blocking the rain, and cars occasionally blamming into them, but sycamores, also known as plane trees, are very popular street trees because they can handle all that. They line boulevards in Paris and London and Rome as well as my granny’s front yard. That was the first place I ever smelled one, a lovely, very distinctive scent.

So I’m okay with sycamores.

Imagine my disappointment then, when I moved into this building and realized the trees in front of it were all dead. Dead, dead, dead, nothing more than big sticks. Worse than the aesthetics, dead trees blow over in storms and can seriously injure people, people like me. I wrote to the city to complain and apparently other people did too because they scheduled a number of meetings about removing them and then, 3 years ago, scheduled the actual axe work.

Ah but then, 2020 happened. Perhaps you remember 2020? The year that seemed like a decade and in which nothing happened? So cutting the trees down were one of those things that didn’t happen. Recently new signs popped up saying the period for commenting about the trees was reopened, which seemed to imply removing my little grove of zombie wood was less likely than ever. I became resigned to living with landscaping that looks like it was designed by the Wicked Witch of the West.

But then on Tuesday I was awakened by a hell of a racket. When I stumbled downstairs to see what was going on, a hard-hatted gang was busy ripping those bitches out. In less than 2 hours they had removed all of them, except for the two up at the corner. I have no idea why they stopped short there, the survivors are just as dead as the ones that got the ax. I’m just glad they cut what they did.

Hard wood:

Doesn’t the head of his dick look like somebody took a bite out of it? Ouch.

Does his mother know he borrowed her razor?

Peek a boo, I see you.

Why so glum, chum?

About mrpeenee

A former bon vivant and terror of a number of New Orleans bars in the mad, gay 1980s, I'm now quietly retired and widowed in San Francisco. I have a crooked nose due to an unfortunate Frisbee accident.

10 responses »

  1. Just wait: Someone on Fox News will blame the death of those trees on President Biden. Or face masks. Or 5G cell phones, Satanists, vaccines, liberals, labradoodles, Bill Gates, Mr. Whipple, etc., etc., etc. (Model #1 is making my sweet tooth ache.)


      • Boreal Forest, an answer on today’s Jeopardy, a show I haven’t watched in years but happened to be home at the right time today & watched. I’d heard about the trans genius so got to see her in action. God bless her, she’s won enough money to maybe get some electrolysis.

        Uh oh, am I gonna get pilloried now?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. They never plant anything useful do they? Our streets are strewn with Horse Chestnut trees, the fruit they produce are poisonous, they should have planted Sweet Chestnut trees instead, at least they would serve a purpose by giving the homeless something nice to eat on a winters evening. Number one for me please, see how his middle finger glistens.


  3. I hate sycamore trees! They are practically unkillable, nothing eats them, and they produce millions of winged seeds that end up sprouting everywhere in the garden (loads have self seeded all around our neighbourhood, including next door, which shades out our garden in mid-summer).

    Plane trees are completely different and unrelated. They can grow to ridiculous heights – which means lots of councils (despite local objection) want to fell the ones grown alongside roads as they are lifting up the pavements and cause problems with drains. Their seeds are ball-like and shed loads of tiny sharp “hairs”, which get right in one’s eye on a windy day.

    Lord only knows what those gnarled dead things actually are in SF, but I am pleased they’re finally being grubbed-up. Those palm trees in the background of the photos seem to be a much better-adapted species to grow! Jx

    PS pic #4 for me, please. I like a bucking bronco ride.


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