The home in which we stay in Cruzy is located right on the main town square, the Place de la Republique. The square isn’t much by big, or even medium, city standards, but it is the heart of the village. The square isn’t actually square; it is rectangular with twelve large plane trees in two rows of six marching down its center. The trees are magnificent.
We’ve spent the last couple of weeks admiring the color of the leaves and watching the Cruzy Commune workers sweep and vacuum up the fallen leaves about every other day. We have also marvelled at the number of leaves that have been accumulating on our roof top terrace.
On November 3rd, when Michael and I returned from an outing, we noticed that the cars parked around the square, where we usually park, had notices under their windshield wipers. Even being embarrassingly deficient in French, we could tell that the notices said that parking was prohibited in the square from the 3rd to the 6th for some tree related activity.
We moved the car and took off the next day for another outing. When we returned home, we found that six of the trees had been scalped! This was substantially more than just a little pruning. Some of the branches that had been cut were 3″ to 5″ in diameter. We have noticed, and commented upon, this severe pruning on other trips but it was shocking to see it in our little square.
We noticed, however, that the workers were scrupulous about sweeping up and removing all of the leaves and debris from the project. So, that night, under cover of darkness, Michael went up onto the terrace, swept up all of the leaves, and pitched them over the railing onto the road below. He was careful to make certain there were no pedestrians wandering past.
The next day, we took off on another journey and when we got back the remaining six trees had been taken care of and there wasn’t a leaf to be seen. Let’s just say that there is a lot more light coming in our windows now. When I asked Helen, the proprietor of the grocery store across the square, how often the trees got this treatment, she told me that it was only every eight to ten years. And to think that Michael and I were there to witness it.