Thursday, February 23, 2006

'Drift to Low Performance' Part II. A Shorn Tree Trunk on Our Mall

AU’s center-of-campus mall is made more beautiful by two rows of giant, venerable trees that grace the sidewalks on each side. But one day, last August, tragedy struck. A heavy limb fell from one these giants and struck a student.

The authorities’ response was swift and draconian. Within a few hours a chain saw equipped platoon materialized and soon, the tree was shorn of every remaining limb. The remaining limbs did not look rotted, but I lack the professional expertise to judge. I do know that on my own property in the country, one rotted limb does not imply all rotted limbs. It almost seemed as if the tree was being treated like an ill-tempered horse that was dispatched with a bullet to the head after throwing – and perhaps injuring - its rider. It seemed as if the tree was being punished for its transgression.

That is not the point of this note, however. The point is that, after some months, the shorn trunk remains, towering above us, standing in mute testimony to remind us of last August’s events. When I walk by on most mornings, I scarcely notice it. It has become an accepted part of our current reality.


Blogger Middento said...

For some reason, people seem averse to writing comments on your blog. In the spirit of sparking discussion in general, let me change that.

I, too, found the tree being cut down somewhat horrifying (although not more than coming upon the scene of the fallen student following class). I am a big fan of old trees, whether to climb them or to sit under. I also have a wonderful photo of my wife and then-two-month-old child under that tree that I cherish. Unlike you, I constantly contemplate the missing large stump and mentally wince every time I notice its absence. (Perhaps this is because my office is in Battelle-Tompkins and I therefore pass it many times per day.)

Here is what I have been waiting for, however: what we need is an AU version of Hyde Park. I have been waiting for protestors and student politicians that there is no better place to make a stump speech... than the AU stump! I fully believe that it would not dishonor that regal tree to speak on it, almost reminiscent of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree.

So if students are reading this, I challenge you to start stumping. Not only would it bring attention to the old tree, but it's a wonderful platform

9:30 PM  
Blogger dormgrandpop said...

Great idea!

6:16 PM  

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