The Return

Live goats huddle in a musty meat mart, ready to become dinner stew. A storekeeper dresses a stack of new mannequins in African frocks and poses them across a line of fresh mangos. Hand painted signs adorn an old fashioned music store. Women vend ices in the shade. An artist created a muffler man outside a garage. 

Chinquapin oaks and zelkovas await their pre construction tree guards. 

There is a certain bonhomie among contractors and inspectors, laborer and laborer. A beating sun. The afternoon doldrums. 

After a lazy summer break (novels, peach preserves) I’m back on the job — on a long, pulsating avenue in the east Bronx. I did have to work a couple of days this August, one to identify trees in the vicinity of wheelchair ramps a contractor planned to build under subway lines. Surprise, the trees were phantoms–no one plants them under shadowy tracks! And I returned to a park in Queens at Totten Avenue, perched near the Whitestone Bridge, where I surveyed a venerable mutitrunk muberry tree that brought to mind a towering white mulberry we had in the yard of a house we lived in surrounded by apple orchards. The berries we squished underfoot weren’t very sweet. They rarely are. But the locale was, especially in summer. 

Now I’m helping to protect trees on a project that involves improving bus lines up and down the avenue. There are 40 blocks, 300 trees. It should be a bitch. I’m glad to get back to it. Maybe I’ll adopt a goat. 


Filed under Jean Zimmerman

2 responses to “The Return

  1. Definitely adopt a goat…or two! 😀

  2. Anonymous

    Berries… For the birds: (from Betty Hall Jones)

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