Monday, January 26, 2009
Dadgum Sweetgum Balls!
Let me state at the outset that I am all for the cultivation of trees, even in urban areas. I applaud Mayor Daley's initiative in Chicago to encourage planting on skyscraper roofs. I think parks are terrific.
I don't believe, however, that all trees are created equal, and should have the right to pursue their happiness wherever they seed. Or wherever they are planted by city governments. Especially when it's a sweetgum ball tree. Especially when it's at the curb in front of my house. Especially when I can't kill it or cut it down without incurring a large fine.
My gripe isn't even with the tree itself. It's a noble tree. It stands straight and proud, with a leafy canopy to shade my car in the summer. Okay, it also provides perches for the local avian population which covers my car with an undesirable substance, but birds are nice, too. My complaint is solely with the spiky, indestructable balls it drops in the fall and winter.
You can't destroy those balls! They don't crush even when driven over again and again. They appear just when you step, and they roll underfoot. They are especially prevalent when carrying groceries and your vision is obscurred. They multiply tenfold when you have to run out to the car in your slippers.
So I offer a challenge to all you scientific, environmental types: surely one of you could devise a method of processing these dadgummed sweetgum balls into yarn, and I'd keep you supplied with them for free!