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HOUSE, HOME & COMMUNITY S I N C E 1951

SPRING IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER Garden need a facelift? House need sprucing up? To-do list need doing? “Bring us your to-do list now. We’ll find the solutions to make life easier!”

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“By the way, all trees are lovely. No such thing as an ugly tree.” Hocker loves his job. “The beauty of my job comes from the people I meet,” he says. “We are, after all, in the business of providing beauty to the citizenry. I’ve had people come

up to me in stores and hug me, just because I may have saved one of their favorite trees a year earlier. And, in another case, one of our arborists working on P Street in Midtown became the subject of a woman’s poetry. She had been watching his regular and very attentive nurturing of a young tree outside her window for weeks and decided to thank him personally. During the conversation, she was so moved by his happiness and joy on the job that she composed a poem.” The mention of poetry immediately conjures in the interviewer’s mind a reference to Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees.” As if reading my mind, Hocker says, “By the way, all trees are lovely. No such thing as an ugly tree. If one appears gnarly or heavily knotted, one should never assume the tree is deformed or diseased. In many cases, those knots have proven to be hidden sources of powerful and effective medicines. Like with many people, the full benefit of trees has yet to be revealed.” n

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“That’s how I approach my work. If I lose that sense of wonder and mystery, then I lose what trees are all about. And sometimes we have to make gut-wrenching decisions about removing trees. The death that ensues we take very personally. It is a loss, and we go through a grieving process until we come to acceptance, just like the seven stages of grief when a human dies. It may be briefer, but it is just as real.”

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