SAVE THE TREE.
In a world where, by some estimates, an acre of rain forest is lost every second, this seems staggeringly simple. It’s win-win. Pardon the pun, but knowing the facts, who wouldn’t root for the tree?
As staffer Mary Therese Biebel reported in Saturday’s edition of The Times Leader, a 75-foot-tall swamp white oak in Swoyersville is a healthy and rare bit of living history, surely born when Swoyersville was naught but swamp, and likely before Billy Penn showed up in 1682 to name a commonwealth after himself … and, not incidentally, after all the trees he saw.
Yet this majestic survivor of some 300 years is threatened not by disease, disaster or disinterest. It is threatened by a nearby house.
An insurance company has deemed the mighty oak too serious a risk to the house it shades. One branch in particular looms over the humble home, almost certainly constructed with wood from trees much younger and much inferior to the swamp oak itself.
But the offending branch could be removed with the tree preserved, or other measures could surely be taken to keep both house and historic tree fully intact. A tree expert has volunteered services; shame on the insurance company if it does not take advantage of such an offer. Indeed, it should compensate the man for his effort at reducing insurance risk.
This isn’t an act of epic or monumental importance. The rain forests will likely continue to be razed at an alarming rate regardles of this oak’s fate. But we don’t need to see the forest for the trees here, we just need to see the tree for what it is.
If this tree could talk, it would need no intercession; the world would listen with rapt interest at what it witnessed and endured.
But of course, it cannot speak. So it falls to all of us to, as Dr. Seuss’s Lorax said, to speak for the tree (just the one, this time, though it is quite real and not merely a metaphor).
And the message is superbly simple, reminiscent of a certain sneaker company:
Just save it.