Cheers! to the 100-plus-year-old Eisenhower Tree that was removed from its golf course in Augusta, Georgia last week because of damage from a Georgia ice storm.
The old pine held up (and was held together with cables for years) in spite of an attempt by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to have it removed in 1956 because his golf balls often couldn’t find their way around it. The Augusta National Golf Club stood up for the tree, and refused to take it down.
I’ve known a few good trees in my lifetime. I’m currently cheering for the mostly-dead, spindle-topped maple just outside my bedroom window in my new home. For the most part, I’ve always had a tree outside my bedroom window – a mimosa, a weeping willow, an apple blossom – so I expect to see a tree when I first wake up.
This maple is my only tree. At least the only tree close enough to my window to allow me to call it mine.
Having recently moved from property that was hemmed-in by an apple blossom that traversed up three floors and touched a window on each floor, a no-holds-barred, unbridled riot of wisteria that rained purple every spring (and came back full-force after the occasional gardener’s hacking), great big elms, ever-green junipers, and woody pines that held buckets-full of snow on their branches, I am especially grateful that the one tree in the back of my new building happens to be right outside my window. It’s solitary, unexceptional; a misplaced tree that you don’t necessarily feel drawn to look up at from below. Its branches are gangly, and offer no resplendent outreaching pattern. It grows out of a black-topped-and-yellow-lined section of the fire zone of a driveway.
And like the Eisenhower Tree, it’s in the way. It’s pushing on the fence between neighboring buildings. But unlike the powers that be at the Augusta National Golf Club that supported a tree over a president, I fear my tree’s days may be numbered.
I’m especially rooting for my maple because tree-loss is fresh on my mind. Trees were taken down by the new owners of my old house for aesthetic reasons – better curb appeal. Apparently better for them to see the house through the trees, than the trees through the house.
And right before I moved out, I watched my favorite juniper tree (seen here being tree-hugged by its much younger, but no less-doomed buddy) fall victim to a chainsaw because it had rooted itself on top of an old oil tank that had to be removed.
So I will knock on wood that my new tree will remain for as long as I live here. Because from the vantage point of my bedroom window, those gangly branches make for a black and blue sky. And, for the past month, those branches have been “painted” snow-white. Its matte-brown facade is looking downright glossy these days. I applaud it as one would applaud anything that still stands tall, despite physical ravages; devoid of its former sinewy youth and dewy vibrancy.