Monday, August 27, 2012

Death of a Friend

I hate to see a tree being cut down.  Especially big trees because I always think about everything that the tree has seen in its lifetime.  Once when I was a small child, my grandpa was having two huge trees cut down in the yard. I begged and begged him to please not cut those trees down.  He tried to explain to me that he had to have them taken down because they were getting so large that they were blocking out all of the light, plus they were a danger to the house, grainery, hay and woodsheds.

This past Friday, I cried and cried on the way home from work, because, you see, I lost a dear tree friend.  I have lived in my current home for twelve years and on my way to and from work, I always passed this certain large oak tree everyday. Sometimes, when I would get caught by the traffic light, I would be stopped right next to this glorious old tree.  He had a bit of rot going on around his base though, but that gave me even more to admire. During rainy weather, he would have beautiful shelf fungus growing at his base. His shade would provide a cool place to wait for the traffic light to change which at this particular intersection could take quite a while. In the fall, his leaves would provide a splash of russet which looked beautiful against the yellow and oranges surrounding him.

Isn't he a handsome tree?
I wish this photo was not blurred, but
I took the photo while driving by.

However, progress changes many things. Traffic is terrible at the intersection of Bennington Street and 116. The powers-that-be decided that a traffic circle would be the solution which is undoubtedly costing taxpayers millions of dollars because they have been working on this area for months and months. Evidently this is going to be a HUGE traffic circle because they are bulldozing down the side of a really big hill.  Cutting down not only my dear oak tree, but all of his surrounding friends too.  I fear this new development because I have seen how the people in the Roanoke Valley seem to have a problem figuring out how to proceed through a three-way stop that is near my home. I'm sure that a traffic circle will totally befuddle them and there will probably be plenty of accidents.  

This was when I became afraid that he was
going to be cut down

On Thursday, they had taken down every tree on the hillside except for my dear friend.  I knew that he would probably be taken the next day.  I tried to take a photo with my cell phone as I drove by. Of course, this would be the one day that the traffic light did not stop me. On Friday afternoon, as I approached the stop light, I could see in the distance that the beautiful oak tree was missing from the skyline.  I instantly started crying.  It looks like he didn't give up easily, hanging on as long as he possibly could.

All of his friends were cut down today.
He looks very lonely.
It makes me think of my Grandmother saying that
growing old was sad because all of her friends
and family were already dead.

I'm sure that some of you will think that I am being silly, but I will always keep that oak tree in my memory and think of him when I drive by the spot where he spent his life from the time that he was a tiny acorn until man decided that he was just in the way.
He tried to hang on.

One way that this glorious old tree could have been honored was to use his wood to make something or to at least use him for firewood to provide heat and comfort.  But the most demeaning thing happened to him. All of the trees on that hillside were run through one of the largest chippers that I have ever seen and now there is a MOUNTAIN of mulch where there used to be beautiful trees of all varieties.)

 I will remember you.


  1. Wow - I'm so sorry about the old oak tree. I have a couple of huge oaks in my yard. One is so large 2 people clasping hands can't complete a circle around the trunk. It's the largest oak I've personally seen. The other is smaller but not by a whole lot. A few years ago the smaller one started losing its leaves in July. The leaves turned brown and they were completely dry, it sounded like potato chips when they hit the ground. By the time the other trees started turning it was already empty. It was really distressing to watch. Whenever I told someone about it they would say "It's just a tree." I was sure that it was dead but amazingly it sprouted new buds right on schedule the next spring and has been fine ever since. So maybe it had a summer cold, who knows, I'm just glad it came back. I'm sorry about your tree and its humiliating demise. It DID deserve better than that. Do you have any idea how old it was?

    1. I'm relived to hear that your tree made a comeback! :) There are so many people that just don't understand having such an affinity for living things. I feel bad when I have to prune back plants! We have a really large ficus plant where I work and it has to be trimmed back on a pretty regular basis. I can't even bring my self to throw away the branches that I cut off, so I root them. Silly I know. I grew up on a farm and we did have farm animals that we ate and we grew lots of food. Things like that did not bother me back then, but I sure am a softie now!

      I really do not have any idea how old this tree was, but at the base, two people could not have reached all the way around. I wish that I could have gotten out of the car and taken a closer look. He looks deceptively small in these photos.

  2. Kimberly-

    I do not think you silly in the least. A tree will shade you from the Sun, protect you from the rain, relieve your hunger and replenish the air you breath. A tree will not disrespect you or be hurtful to you, backstab you, cheat you or crap on you. Only people do that. Trees are useful to hang those people from.

    1. Words of wisdom, Dr. Tooms. Thank you! :)

  3. I love trees. I even have two leafy viney tattoos because I love them so much. You're not being silly at all. They're wonderful creations and I respect and admire them too. My mom and I always had certain trees in random places that we loved, and when I was little and we'd drive by them, she would yell out the window little compliments to them, to tell them how beautiful they were. I find myself often doing the same thing now. :)

    1. I love it, Danielle! I have always had special trees too. I used to have to walk a trail through the woods to get to my jobsite at Explore Park in the first couple of years that we were open. There was one particular tree that I always spoke to and I would usually pat it on its trunk. :D


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