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.”
By Kristin H. Macomber
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.