Facebook alerted me to a downed tree early this morning as I was still lying in bed. I have a few lookouts in my building and in the ‘hood at large that let me know the health of the trees on San Pedro St. It’s kinda cool actually- the wonders of modern technology and word on “the streets” have informed me about all that I need to know in Skid Row. So, before I even trudged downstairs to inspect what I figured was a dead tree broken at the base I was moping around my loft teary eyed, frustrated and angry (mostly angry because of all the garbage I saw in the neighborhood last night– it was epicly bad).
So, I get downstairs to inspect the tree-victim and noticed that it had not been broken, but only bent. The recent rains probably helped making the trunk soft and pliable instead of brittle and hard.
Immediately, people started to gather to offer condolences and express anger at the mini-tree-tastrophe. Then, out of nowhere a gentleman named Can whom I knew from doing Operation Face-Lift street sweepings walked by and offered to help prop up the tree.
My anger turned to a feeling of gratitude instantly. This almost always happens when I walk outside to deal with the trees in any way. People want to come up and chat and help.
As I was re-staking the poles with my new tree-helper a lady walked by and said she witnessed “the incident”. She was upset. We talked about the perpetrator and his reasons. Mental illness was the most likely culprit we decided. With so many people on our Skid Row streets struggling with not only homelessness but also mental illness (among other things that bring people here)- destructive behavior is something that just goes with the territory and I accept it.
I’m so lucky to live here. This is a special place. The tree lives today.