Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn Connecting the Present with the Past - Page 16

“Hello there, you enormous elephant of a tree. Still with us, I see. Thank you for hanging in there.” Farewell, My Lovely By Kristin H. Macomber 14 I t’s been my ritual these past few years, to think some version of that greeting whenever I enter Mount Auburn Cemetery. Before checking the chalkboard for recent bird sightings, before any encounters with flora or fauna, I’ve started each visit with a silent salutation to the Cemetery’s grand opening act, the beloved Central Avenue purple-leafed beech tree.   I knew that this gentle giant’s days were numbered, even before the great drought of 2016. For years, I winced at its increasingly bark-less branches, its shriveled summer foliage. I mourned the damage done by the parasitic fungi creeping in, and the opportunistic mushrooms taking hold. I gasped the day I discovered the ragged hole that marked the spot where a massive branch had dropped off in the night, the damaged trunk too weary to hold up its gravity-defying heft any longer.   I knew how this story would end.