About a year ago, our landlord decided that the regal oak standing guard on the plot between the sidewalk and the street was dropping too many leaves on his lawn, so he hacked it down. Phil and I mourned the loss of the majestic oxygen-maker. If we had known beforehand, perhaps we would have picketed outside to protest, or assembled a rally. Alas, we did not, and one day we came home after a weekend away to find nothing but a stump and a pile of sawdust.
Sure, we were disappointed, but there was an upside: the army of pigeons that cooped in that oak lost their home and had to relocate (incidentally, to the neighbor’s roof), meaning our car windshields would be met with a lot less bird droppings.
But we underestimated the consequences.
In the days immediately following the tree execution, we noticed the pungent smell of dog poop when climbing into our car. Phil and my conversations while in that vicinity sounded like the lyrics to a Lynyrd Skynyrd song. “Oh, that smell! Can you smell that smell?” At first I didn’t think too much of it; my landlord had a German Shepherd. But then I remembered that the German Shepherd had been dead for months, and what we were smelling was not dog poop, but the tree stump.
We aren’t talking about a mild odor here. It was a concentrated stench–the insides of an oak should not be bottled. And God definitely has a sense of humor, because whenever we started heading in the direction of the stump, I noticed that the wind picked up and delivered the aroma directly into our nostrils.
So for ten months we’ve been holding our breath each time that we enter and exit our cars, until last week when I pulled up to the curb and found the stump replaced by a mound of mulch. I literally clapped and squealed, so happy was I that the reign of the stinky stump was over. Then I stepped out of the car and was nearly knocked to the floor.
Grinding the stump into bits only pissed it off. That’s how I explained it anyway. Phil said that now more surface area was exposed to emanate the fragrance. We went from holding our breath from car door to front door to now needing a hazmat suit.
Phil is hopeful, though. Apparently now that the stump is powder, it will decompose quicker. The question is whether or not we will still be here to “reek” the benefits.