banter | SUBURBANOLOGY
our own yard; among them are beeches
and tulip poplars, American hollies, a
chestnut that survived a species-killing
blight, and a young pin oak that I hope
will someday dominate the back garden.
But the couple that lives directly behind
us has several magnificent mature oaks
on their property, and some of them are
right up against our back fence line.
My husband and I built a small round
patio in a back corner of our garden to
give us a better vantage point to enjoy
our neighbors’ oaks. ;at patio, known
to friends and family as the Zen Circle,
is every visitor’s favorite place to sit in
our garden. When my husband and I are
alone, we sometimes lie flat on our backs
on that patio and stare into the sheltering canopy of the neighbors’ oaks, letting
their majesty be our joy and balm—our
My neighborhood association
devoted a lot of time to discussing trees
in 2010-2011. Back then, Greenwich
Forest was in the process of becoming a
county-approved historic district, with
certain protections for old houses and
mature trees. Tree-lovers argued that
the park-like canopy of neighborhood
trees knit all our homes into a community ecosystem worth preserving. Some
opponents, basically property rights
advocates, argued that trees are prone
to toppling or dropping branches on
people and car windshields, and that
homeowners have a right to launch pre-emptive strikes by cutting down trees
on their own property. I understood the
merits of both positions, but I sided, passionately, with the tree protectionists.
A few years later I was weeding near
the back line of our property, pulling up
evil honeysuckle seedlings, when I heard
a crack like thunder. I looked up to see
a telephone pole-size limb from one of
my neighbors’ oaks hurtling toward me.
I had no time to run, just to drop to the
ground and cover my head with my arms.
;e heaviest part of the limb missed
rise to every custody challenge
Nothing is more important than
your children. During and after divorce,
you need to know:
• Where will your kids live?
• Who’s with them for summers/holidays?
• How much child support will there be?
• Who makes medical decisions?
• Who will pay for private school?
• What if you or your ex wants to move?
• How do you change a prior court order
Lerch Early’s family law attorneys
listen to understand what’s most
important to you and best for
your kids. We then negotiate and
advocate for you to help your
family resolve these parenting
For more info, visit the Divorce
and Family Law page at