On one hot summer afternoon, a new relationship was formed. It is a relationship like no other. On September 4, 2015, Mark Scott, Dickinson College’s Arborist, introduced me to my tree—Fagus grandifolia or otherwise known as the American Beech Tree. At first I thought can I really form a lasting relationship with this tree? Can I truly want to visit this tree every day and bask in its shade? Will this tree look beautiful to me rain or shine? Will this tree even provide me shade on a hot summer’s day? These were the questions that circulated through my head when I first met this tree. But then, as I peered into this tree’s soul, I began to realize that there is more than what meets the eye. I saw how the want, the need and the desire this tree had been building up inside of it just waiting to share its wonderful stories with one lucky person. I chose to be that one lucky person.
It all started as my fellow classmates and I were walking around campus with Mark and claiming trees. I just could not find one that I liked after much anticipation. That is until I came across my one true tree, Mr. Linden. He just spoke to me standing 20–35 meters tall with silver-gray colored bark near the flag on the academic quad. Mr. Linden’s species is known to have smooth bark, but his lively silver-gray colored bark had been tampered with by humans. His sturdy, aging, carved trunk tells many stories of love, history, pain and so much more. I visit Mr. Linden quite often and listen to the stories he has to tell. I like to think of it as visiting Mr. Linden’s library where I hear a new story every time.
If you examine all of the trees on Dickinson College’s campus, you will notice that my Mr. Linden is the only tree that has many stories to tell due to human impact; carvings on his trunk. In “A Sand County Almanac,” Aldo Leopold says that “not all trees are created free and equal” (Leopold, 68). Even though the stories Mr. Linden has to share with me are wonderful, showing history through time, he is the only one who can share these kinds of stories. I am a bit biased and the carving process must be painful. There will come a point where he will just have no more space to carve and can no longer tell stories. As Leopold stated, signatures of conservationists differ whether written with an axe or a pen (Leopold, 68).
Leopold, Aldo. 1949. A Sands County Almanac. Oxford University Press.