Eastern Hemlock: A Live History

tree 3One day 70 years ago around 1945 my beautiful tree was planted on the Dickinson College campus right near the Ben Rush statue near Old West and East College. She was about 5 when she was replanted into the lush soil that was our campus. She was so young and new and nervous about being so far away from her friends and family. She was the only one of her kind for quite some distance, and she knew this and knew that she needed to make her owners proud. As the years went on she saw many new faces come and go. A few stayed for longer than 4 years, but the majority of people she would meet and who would rest their backs on her trunk would leave her. Growing up she didn’t have many friends. She would try and bond with the trees around her but since she was so different she felt out of place and couldn’t make friends with any of them.

As the years went on she grew to be tall and strong. After 30 years of growing she was taller than all of the trees around her. She was stronger and mightier than everyone else. Unlike all those around her she kept her green needles all year and was the pride of winter. Everyone took pictures in front of her to celebrate the snow that has just fallen. When she got older all of the other trees realized that they wanted to be her friend, but she had developed the confidence to stand up for herself and say no because they didn’t appreciate her when she was a little girl. Her limbs would sway in the wind and some of her needles would fall on the tops of the heads of those who were passing by.

Years kept passing and she kept growing taller and taller. She kept seeing so many people in and out of the campus. One of her favorite events was graduation on the academic quad, because she always got a front row seat and was able to see all of her friends gradate. Graduation makes her sad because she has to say goodbye to the people who she has grown to love over the past 4 years, but then she remembers that there will be a new wave of students who will grace her presence and who she will grow to love.

Into the early 2000’s she is about 60 and is still as young as ever. She gets to see all of the people walking to class every day and enjoy the conversations that she is over hearing. She loves the gossip of who is dating whom and what party happened the night before. She never has a dull moment.

Now fast-forwarding to the summer of 2015 she is 70 years old and is about a forth through her life. She has seen a lot in her 70 years and has been though a lot. She has been hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and survived and the multitude of other storms that hit Carlisle, but nothing like that happened in the summer of 2015. One sunny day in July out of nowhere a huge storm came blazing through Carlisle. It was not like anything she has seen before. She was being pelted by raindrops and the wind was bending her every which direction. Out of nowhere BOOM! She was hit. She sees a huge part of her top stem fall to the ground and hears a thud. She was hit by a lightning bolt, which took a large portion of her top off. The next few days she was saddened by her loss but knew that she needed to fight on. Mark Scott, her doctor visited her regularly to make sure her vitals were okay.

Then I came along. I was a new face for her since I had never been on the side of campus much. She recognized me from the summer sitting by her. She could tell that I was someone special, even if it was only going to be for a few months. To this day is still fighting and dealing with her battle wound, but she is stronger than ever.

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