Eulogy for a Tree

Monches Farm, LLC
5890 Monches Road
Colgate, Wisconsin
phone: 262-966-2787

Eulogy for a Tree

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness.”

-John Keats

120+ years of growing on the old homestead brought to this tree the grace and beauty of age.
If a tree could be said to have a spirit, this one did.

Visitors admired it daily – often lingering under its cool shade to appreciate its form and character. A long-time customer, losing her sight to macular degeneration, asked for a photo of this tree because she said it was one of the most beautiful things she’d ever seen and she wanted to savor it as her eyesight faded.

Dozens of times a day we would be asked “What type of tree is this?”
People were usually shocked at the answer: Boxelder (Acer negundo).
Often considered a “weed tree”, in fact classified as a Noxious Weed.
Messy & weak-wooded.
Never to be planted intentionally, and advised to be removed if it volunteers on your property.

But this one escaped the saw. And grew in beauty as it aged. Its huge lateral branches beckoned adventurous children to climb and imaginative folks of all ages to gaze up and imagine…

Perhaps the children of this farmstead played in its shade 100 years ago. Perhaps the family, after a hard day of work on the farm, rested in the evening under its branches. Certainly it has been standing, bearing silent witness to the passage of time, for well over a century. Many changes have occurred during that time. Among them the founding of Monches Farm 30 years ago, when this tree was younger and more vigorous, and over the years it has sheltered us and became a part of our days here at the farm. If a tree can be a friend, this one was.

In recent years our friend became ill. Age was taking its toll. Two years ago we had an arborist perform a rescue prune to try to gain a few more years. Our tree rallied briefly but soon again began to fail. Its branches began to die and we feared for the safety of our employees and visitors as those heavy limbs lost their strength. We decided that it was time to say “goodbye” to an old friend.

Early this spring we cut out all of the dead sections of our old Boxelder, leaving only one remaining living limb to cast a bit of shade for one last year. We’ll spend this season saying our final goodbyes to this fine old arboreal “grand dame”.

Goodbye, old friend – you will be missed.

Another one lost...June 16, 2014.

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