I kept thinking about 1968 this morning.
Following the anti-war protests at that year’s Democratic Convention, a commission headed by the future Governor Dan Walker declared the violence in Chicago that August was a police riot.
Mayor Richard Daley, the first, issued a response entitled, “What Trees Do They Plant?” suggesting the protesters were nihilists or something.
This morning dozens of my neighbors of all ages planted trees.
There is a bit of irony in this story. It was back in the days of Mayor Daley, the first, that Ash trees were planted on our neighborhood blocks to replace the Elm trees that had all died from Dutch Elm disease.
Now the Ash are all infected with an Ash borer. Half the trees on our block have been cut down. The rest of the Ash will die too, including the two in front of our house that have been there for 30 years.
This is the problem with planting one kind of tree. If one gets diseased, they all will get diseased.
I suppose we could ask Mayor Richard Daley, “What trees did you kill?”
A while ago, our neighbor Karen applied for a grant from Openlands to plant 28 trees on the park strips in an 8 square block area of our neighborhood.
Karen got the grant, and after talking to neighbors to see who wanted them and who didn’t, and after having the gas company come out and mark up where the gas lines were, and after notifying all the bureaucrats that needed to be notified, we planted trees this morning.
All different kinds of trees.
As in all things, diversity is better.
Steve, an older tree guy volunteer from the Morton Arboretum worked with our group.
He made sure we planted them right so they will survive and grow up strong.
One of the neighbors who got a tree also just recently had a baby.
That seemed right.
Mayor Daley, the first, isn’t around to see our new trees. But in a metaphorical sense we have always been planting trees.
This morning they just happened to be 28 real ones.