They’ll do it to crape myrtles, sometimes even to pear trees and oaks, taking the long shears, lopping off all new growth down to the knuckle. It almost always is a mistake. It reminds me of foot binding, "refining" nature by forcing what’s natural to some geometer’s shape, a distortion of beauty so terrible that it makes me helpless with rage. Today, though, I saw a new sadness: a gardener, himself pollarded, flooded by whiskey and his own salt tears and choking on them both. This is why we crack open; we can’t fit ourselves within the crude shape of these rough prunings.