A white ash, otherwise known as the Fraxus Americana is native to North America. Famous for being used in the notorious Louisville Slugger baseball bat, the white ash is a staple of American plant life. A lone white ash stands proudly on the west side of Morgan Field towering over the dormitory as it displays the true power of nature over man. I was first graced with the presence of this mastodon of a tree on September 7th 2015. As the highly qualified arborist explained all of the tree’s special qualities in his Carharts and forest-green Dickinson polo shirt, my eyes began to follow the bark up the trunk and into the vast greenery above.
“Ash Ketchum” I thought to myself as I studied my soon to be wildlife companion. Growing up I had only known one person to ever have the name “Ash,” and he just so happened to be the main character of my favorite cartoon, Pokemon. He would tell people that he, “wanted to be the very best, like no one ever had.” After touring around the immense and diverse plethora of trees on Dickinson’s campus, and seeing 15 other trees that were adequate, I laid eyes on Ash and new immediately that he in fact is the best, like no tree ever was.
Ash is about 60 feet tall and has a diameter at the base of his trunk of about two feet. His species is said to live up to 200 years! I wonder about the things he must have seen through all of his years. I stare from a distance and see that he has many more leaves and branches on his westward facing tangent. I cannot help but think that there must be a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. I walk up close and notice the moss around the roots that snake their way into the ground. Thick ridges weave through each other like knots as they travel up the trunk creating a thick exterior that gives Ash a scaly exterior.
I move closer still and see a small silver disc nailed into Ash’s bark inscribed with the number “253.” Who are the 252 others that came before him? On the other side, a metal wire twists and turns up the bark, and I heard the arborist mention something about a lightning rod used to attract electric currents and send them into the ground. Thinking about the weeks to come, I anticipated the memories that Ash and I will share together. As we travel through the seasons together hopefully we can “Ketchum all!”