To the Editor:
There are compelling practical and aesthetic reasons to take the lights down from the trees on King Street at the beginning of April.
First of all, once the trees have their leaves, the leaves will obscure the lights. These are red oak trees. Red oak leaves are as large as a man’s hand — each much larger than the light bulb. There are thousands more leaves on each tree than there are light bulbs strung on the trees, so when the trees have leaves, the lights will be largely obscured.
Second, the strings of lights take a beating being exposed to the elements. Four months is long enough for them to be up without being taken down and thoroughly checked because even a small fray can cause an electrical shock hazard. When trees are dormant, they have less sap in their branches and trunk, so they do not conduct electricity as readily as when they have leaves, meaning electric current could travel to the ground and injure someone more readily when the trees have leaves than when they don’t.
Third, the lights set off the bare trees better than when the trees have leaves which, attractive unto themselves, distract from the lights. The lights are a unique counterpoint to the dull winter, but would be less special if they were on all year ‘round.