I have always had a special affection for different trees I noticed. I grew up climbing a tree in my grandmother's front yard and so "Birches" is one of my favorite poems of all.
If you don't already know, the Jackson County Commission is considering cutting down the beautiful Maple tree in front of the courthouse, and even though I really feel like they wouldn't cut the tree down unless there was a real concern (especially since the Tree Commission approved it, because those guys are really serious about trees) I can't help but be really really sad about it.
When I worked at the paper I frequented the courthouse. I didn't really notice the tree much during the summer months, but when cooler weather came along the tree took on a whole new life as thousands of leaves began to change color. By the time it was cool enough to wear a coat they were the most beautiful yellow color you could ever imagine. As winter went on, nothing could compare to its beauty. The other trees dropped their simple brown leaves and those covered the courthouse yard, but many of the gold maple leaves held strong until harsh winds and snow finally brought them all down.
I can't tell you how many Monday evenings I told myself I needed to take a picture of the tree and its gorgeous leaves. I always thought there would be another chance...when I had more time or when the lighting was better. And then last weekend I realized that I may never ever get to see that tree and its majestic fall beauty ever again.
They say it is 150 years old. I like to think of all of the other people who have witnessed the beauty of that tree. My grandparents? My great grandparents? How many people over 150 years have sought shade from the hot summer sun under it? Did Clarence Norris or Charlie Weems notice it?
A specialist from Washington state has offered to see if there is a solution to save the tree, and I really hope he finds one. I, as much as anyone else, really don't want anyone to get bonked in the head by a huge tree limb... but I also really really really want to see those gold leaves again.
Something about a tree is magic. That tree has seen 150 years...something neither you nor I will ever do. It's heartbreaking to think of it as something else...furniture...paper...firewood...what do they do with beautiful trees when they are cut down?
I'm happy the tree will live a little longer. I took these pictures last weekend at First Monday because I thought it would be the last time I ever got to see the tree.
I didn't want it to end like that, with its gaudy summer leaves. I wanted so badly to see it again in its season of loveliness.
Maybe I will get to after all.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein