A Sad Goodbye to a Very Old Friend

Highland Park is right across the street from Mt. Hope Cemetery (yup, I owe you a post of Mt. Hope Cemetery). I had every intention of starting to take photos of buildings etc. on Saturday in Mt. Hope Cemetery before the leaves come back and start blocking the view. I was all happy, parked my vehicle, and looked over to check on one of my favorite trees, a fernleaf beech, and it. was. gone. Dead. Cut down. Just a huge stump. That’s it.

I need a moment.

I could feel the excitement drain right out of my body. Why? Why did that tree have to be cut down? Why didn’t I visit it sooner? And take more photos. All I have are yucky icky photos I took in Sep of 2003 when I studied it as one of the specimens for my plant project and one of me standing next to it in May of 2004 and they’re all lousy photos. Photos that I took with an old camera, then printed on paper with an icky printer for my plant project. The one of me next to it in May 2004 was taken with a cheap film camera, and all I have is a reprint.

This tree looked healthy last time I saw it. My precious beeches are going one by one. My heart is breaking. I was hoping I wouldn’t be around to see this. I am so sad. Trees are in my heart. I can’t help it. They are. We humans suck sometimes at taking care of our precious nature. I have been complaining to the authorities for years about the lack of care of the OLD trees in this cemetery, and it always falls on deaf ears. “We don’t have the money” is the response.

So here now are my icky photos of my dear, departed friend, a fernleaf beech.

I had to jump up really high to just get these two leaves for my project. This is not what I typically display as a plant specimen – I usually like a twig with the leaves on it, but this was all I could get.

Goodbye old friend. You were a very good friend. You offered your shade in the hot summer sun. Your bark was nice and cool to the touch. I will be back to check out your stump to count your growth rings in the spring. Cuz I know from the size of you that you were a very old fellow.

P.S. Fernleaf beech (Fagus sylvatica L. ‘Asplenifolia’) is an European beech.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandy
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 18:11:07

    I am sure that I have not seen one of these. Th trunk looks like an elephant leg, doesn’t it? Do you know what happened to it?


  2. Pam
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 18:15:04

    Sandy – you would remember it if you saw it. It’s a beautiful beech tree. I agree, the trunk does look like an elephant leg! I don’t know what happened to it yet, but I hope to find out. Its loss leaves a huge gap in the landscape.


  3. Mon@rch
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 19:38:58

    Such a sad loss!! That was a very interesting looking tree! I can’t believe they cut it down! Some people just don’t understand!


  4. Mary
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 19:42:13

    Sorry, Pam. That tree was enormous and beautiful. Along the way, we have planted trees on special occasions. A year ago I drove past our second home in Maryland and saw that the “first birthday” tree we planted for Gina was cut down by the owner. It was an pin oak and very lovely. So I understand your grief.


  5. Lynne at Hasty Brook
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 20:16:00

    I’m sorry too Pam. I know your love for trees runs deep. You have instilled in me a greater appreciation for trees too.


  6. Laura
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 20:32:57

    Trees (especially old ones) aren’t appreciated by people. I don’t think we have enough sense of the time it takes for a tree to grow that large.


  7. Pam
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 21:21:24

    Mon@rch – I loved this tree along with some other favs in this cemetery which I’ll blog about later if they don’t chop those down before then. You would have loved it, too. It was so soft looking from far away, especially for a beech, that it drew me to it immediately. You are so right, some people don’t understand at all. Not. at. all.

    Lynne – thanks – it really does. And you have helped instill a greater appreciate of birds in me. I can’t wait to start our great fern hunt!!

    Laura – you’re so right. I need to research this tree, but I have a feeling it was planted in the middle of the 1800’s give or take. I don’t think it registers in people’s heads how long that is.


  8. Susan Gets Native
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 21:49:34

    I’m sorry, Pam.

    That just sucks OUT LOUD.
    And I don’t understand the response, “We don’t have the money”. They don’t have the money to let a tree stand there? Or they don’t have the money to treat a sick tree?
    But I have to say this:
    It’s nice to see a photo of you! (I mean, other than one that was taken 3 decades ago) Did you realize that you don’t post pictures of yourself?
    You’re so pretty!

    (Feel any better?)


  9. jayne
    Feb 13, 2007 @ 06:56:43

    Awwww… so sad. I often imagine what trees could tell us if they could. I hope one grows in it’s place.


  10. Pam
    Feb 13, 2007 @ 09:16:59

    Susan – it sure does suck OUT LOUD!! They found the money to rip the thing down. I wish they found the money to keep it up.
    Yup, I know I haven’t posted a photo of myself! Thanks for saying I’m purty! Yup, I feel better. I don’t see how you saw me with the blurry photo!

    Jayne – that’s good – I think trees would have so much to tell us about the bad things we do to them and the environment. We would get a good old fashioned scolding from them.
    They usually stick little stick trees in place of the old ones they let die.


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