Once upon a time, there was a housing development on Biggs Army Air Field which was reserved for military families. Each of the houses was identical to the next, and they were all built out of cinderblocks, from which, coincidentally, they borrowed most of their aesthetic qualities. The neighborhood would have been hideously ugly had it not be largely obscured by the very large trees that grew there. Most of the trees were sturdy mulberries, with a few scraggly pines scattered here and there. Big trees. Nice trees. We're no longer allowed to plant mulberries because, as the legend goes, some wife of a mayor way-back-when was allergic to them and got them outlawed.

Eventually, it was decided that those squatty houses could hold not one more coat of sickly pastel paint. In came the bulldozers and down came the houses. While they were at it, they also pulled up all the plumbing, sidewalks, streets, lightposts, and signs, leaving rocky desert and these big trees standing around.

Predictably, the desert began to take its toll on these trees, and, one by one, they began to shed their shrivelled leaves and needles. Every day, another formerly nice, big tree has been reduced to a pile of kindling. When I drive home from work, I look over and I'm a little sad to see them go.

Then I realize I live in a desert and they're not supposed to be there, anyway. Whose smartass idea was it to plant those thirsty trees in a desert?