One of the selling points, for me, when we bought
the home was the many mature trees on the lot to include this Silver Maple.
It was not an easy decision to have it destroyed. This tree caused extensive
damage to our septic system and threatened to undermine the foundation
of our home. After paying over four thousand dollars to replace this system
the decision became much easier. The decision to cut the tree down was
What I did not count on was the reaction we received
from our five-year-old. While the nine-year-old and the two year old "ohhed"
and "ahhed" with the cutting of each branch and the falling
of each large portion of the trunk, the five-year-old stood in silence.
When the man left after an afternoon of work the parts of the tree lay
helter skelter on the lawn, the tire swing still attached to one of the
fallen limbs. He promised to return the next day and cut the large pieces
into smaller ones and use his chipper to finish off the stump. The girls
dispersed and were quickly occupied with the whirl of little girl antics
for the five year old. She asked her mother if she could go in the back
yard and look at the tree. With a promise to be careful she was out the
door. After about thirty minutes her mother became concerned and went
to check on her. What she found was our small daughter clutching one of
the branches, crying, and telling God she was sorry daddy had killed the
tree. We later found that branch and a small zip lock bag of wood chips
in her closet.
I had to react quickly, telling her God had provided
that tree to shelter his animals and to provide cool shade for us in the
summer. However, It was now time for the tree to serve a new purpose.
We are going to use the wood to warm ourselves in the coming winter and
the mulch will protect mommys flowerbeds and provide for the flowers
and shrubs growing there. It didnt work, Daddy killed the tree.
If I had know this would happen I would never have made the decision to
cut the tree down, no matter what it cost in future repairs.
I was reminded of this event this past October when
a sobering article appeared in the papers around the country. It ran,
not as a headline, but as a small feature. Mother Nature had done what
no monarchy, army, political corruptness, or civil strife could do. Hurricane
Floyd damaged the last Liberty tree beyond hope. With its fifteen foot
crack and its hollowed out and diseased trunk it could no longer support
its own weight. On October 25, 1999 the last Liberty Tree was cut down.
This 400-year-old Tulip Poplar, resident of the campus
of St Johns College in Annapolis Maryland, was the scene of the
earliest days of liberty in these United States. As Governor Parris N.
Glending talked about the Sons of Liberty meeting under this tree he stated,
"Here the seeds of revolution were planted for this country and the
With a band, speeches, and a few reporters the tree
was destroyed. Because this is America and we always have a flare for
the commercial, leaves were handed out along with pieces of the wood from
the tree as mementos. There was even talk of scientists cloning the tree
from small cuttings that were made from the mighty Liberty Tree. While
this is possible we can never clone what this tree stands for. I began
to wonder if all this might be an omen of things to come. Have we, as
a nation, finally grown beyond our trunk? Can we continue to hold up ourselves
let alone the world? In this day of children killing children, mothers
killing their children, babies being abandoned, morals ignored even by
have we decayed beyond help?
About the time I began to think the worst, two things
brought me back with hope and thoughts of a long and prosperous future
for this country. My grandfather once told me he always believed the crack
in the Liberty Bell represented the fact that we are not, nor will we
ever be, a perfect nation; but we continue to strive for that perfection.
More importantly I am reminded of Matthew 12:33, "Either declare
the tree good and its fruit good, or declare the tree rotten and its fruit
is rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit." This country has a
much longer track record of good things over bad and these good things
will long outlive the Liberty tree, while still representing what the
tree stands for. Like my children and the children before them that used
the tree in our yard, they too are good and will carry the memory of the
fun they had for many years beyond the life of the tree.
I declare both trees good and their fruit good. It
is important to remember the trees are gone but the good fruit they leave
behind bear the seeds of tomorrow.