Numero Tres

Erik Nielsen

Professor Barnum

Environmental Sociology


Tree Blog #2

I would say that my tree is somewhere between 100 – 150 years old, placing its origins somewhere around the 1860’s. Abraham Lincoln had just become the president, and numerous states had left the union. Pennsylvania was on the border of where the union met the confederate states in the civil war, so I like to think that my tree was, in fact, not a racist. It went into its angsty teen’s right around the time that the Civil Rights Act was passed and watched as Dickinson College had its 100 year anniversary since being opened in 1773.

It saw many Dickinsonians pass through the doors of Old West, and even more ye olden squirrels swinging from its branches. Though it wasn’t affected, the tree felt great empathy for its brothers that had been so affected by the Johnston Flood in PA. As the tree grew past its teens, he began look and think past the single confines of the Academic Quads. Passing scholars alerted the tree of historical events occurring, such as the Spanish American War. The tree, with its roots in America, supported the United States in the war, however, it couldn’t help but feel bad for the all of the wooden boats that were being decimated by the newer, industrialized American fleets.

While the tree passed into the 1900’s, he became rather confused by what he heard around the campus. He heard of mass killings in China, then great parties in the 1920’s. He knew of the great depression and the start and end of World War One, but he also heard of the discovery and exploration of the North Pole and the advancement of the airplane since the Wright Brothers first flight on the trees 35th birthday. He pondered how humanity could do so much good while doing so much bad. He heard of the Holocaust wreaking horror while scientists began to attempt to find and eventually produce a vaccine for polio.

The tree served as a refuge for college students just beginning to introduce themselves into the psychedelic 60’s, and later served as refuge for their children while the Berlin Wall fell. He was torn jeans and flannels fade into iphones and vineyard vines. While the world turned, burned, laughed, and cried, the tree just was.

It felt breezes the way that we did, drank water in the same basic nourishing fashion that we did, and experienced growth and renewal all from the sun, all without worrying about its place in life. We begin to feel that we are apart from the life cycle that trees represent, and it isn’t until we find ourselves under the shade of a tree with our phones out of juice that we realize that we are in fact not so different.

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