Can’t see the paradox for the trees

January 29

This is the kind of road that everybody swoons for. There are other roads like this in the world, country lanes flanked by romantically sinuous trees, but not that many, and this is among the best. Oh how lovely! Everyone agrees!

Yes it is lovely and everyone agrees and that’s why we plant so many roads and streets like this, with closely spaced rows of beautiful trees, because we like beauty in our lives and this kind of beauty is something that is not particularly difficult to execute. Just kidding! It’s impossible to execute, unless by execute you mean chainsawing down the trees. I think it is literally AGAINST THE LAW to plant trees like this. Why? Because there are more IMPORTANT things to us than beauty, and inexpensive WIRES apparently is one of them. You can’t have trees planted densely and close to the road because of two things. The branches will interfere with overhead WIRES, and the trees will be too close to the path of CARS. So the trees are not planted. If they are planted, they are small graceless treelets, or else they are subsequently “trimmed” away from said WIRES in ways that make them look like heavy storm damage. A chainsaw storm. And if they are not “trimmed,” they are “removed” altogether, leaving guess what? Trunk-like utility poles that are usually, in fact, just as perilously close to the road and its wayward traffic as the dangerous trees were.

We could put the wires underground, as “the technology exists” for such a radical idea, and it sometimes happens, but mostly we prefer to save the money and also prefer the sight of a haphazard, gappy row of mangled trees is something that enriches our homes and neighborhoods and lives and pride. But, wow, what beautiful pictures of somewhere else.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.
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Tom Toles · January 28