Chorus+Echo

If A Tree Falls In A Forest*

A purposeful pathway slices through Wuding Lu (武定路)(formerly known as Wuting Road) and Kangding Lu (康定路)(formerly Conaught Road), parallel to Xikang Lu (西康路) (formerly Ferry Road).

On the opposing ends of the walls were contrasting states of development. In the north, a new construction towered in the horizon while in the south, a section of the old neighborhood stood derelict, waiting for the razing to begin on mass.

Instead of rubble and broken stone, construction workers were grappling with branches that formed an intricate maze against the bright afternoon sun. They had spent all of the day before sawing pieces apart, digging through roots and trying to pull the trunks out in whole pieces for scrap sale. Nothing ever went to waste if they could help it.

It was spring but ironically, there were no leaves anywhere for the trees have died a long time ago, as if anticipating the inevitable death of the neighborhood.

A man perched on the core of a trunk, heaving as he sawed through brunch after branch. With the sun behind him, he looked like a peacock which had its feathers spread open behind him.

My eyes trailed from the branch to the trunk and down to the roots which were embedded deeply in the walls of the house and deeper in its foundation. It was going to take a bit more time to get it all out if they want to salvage both brick and wood.

“Who knows how long these roots run into the foundation,” the foreman wondered out loud. “Either way, we’ll get it done.”