I've had 34 wonderful years of being able to walk on the W&OD Trail just north of Vienna and enjoy the shade and breeze. I dash from the house to "catch a few shadows," and I had a place to do just that not far from my back yard. It was a place where I could begin each day with a short walk in relative comfort, shaded from the harsh rays of the sun.

No more. Last month they came with their big, yellow machines and hacked down many trees. Some trees got to keep their tops, but many were left as leafless sticks or stumps.

Dominion Virginia Power Co. says that the trees were dangerous because they could cause power outages and that thousands of trees might need to go. I hope that the power company has decided on the right trees to cut after carefully determining how many trees have actually caused power outages in Northern Virginia.

As Joyce Kilmer's poem reminds us, "Only God can make a tree." It took more than 30 years to grow most of the trees along the W&OD Trail; it's taking Dominion Virginia Power only a few months to destroy them.




If power lines destroy 11 miles of the W&OD Trail [Metro, July 4], the following will be lost:

Soon after leaving Leesburg heading west on the trail, one sees picturesque horse farms and vistas of foothills. Best of all are the beautiful tunnels and cathedrals of trees through which one rides in shade and bliss.

The cyclist who approaches Purcellville is gloriously rewarded for the effort. Breaking out of the closed canopy, one suddenly rides into a rolling field of light. My earthly eyes will never see a better heaven. But any diminution of the tree cover will impair it, because it is the contrast between tree-shaded trail and bright field that makes this a vision.

This is an enchanted trail. I cannot imagine it without all its trees.