Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saying goodbye to a tree

A tree meets its end. Not just any tree, Robert Frost's tree in Derry, NH.
Derry – The crowd shouted "timber" yesterday as workers began taking down an old maple tree that sat at the Robert Frost Farm when the famed poet lived there.

It was a symbolic gesture, since the maple was not felled like any typical tree. Workers took their time cutting off its branches before spending hours removing the tree carefully to avoid damaging the wood, which will be distributed to artisans and crafters. Wood chips will be given to power plants.

Once the cutting was done, a stump was all that remained of the tree, and the farm's landscape looked markedly different. The tree had been visible to Route 28 commuters and was a favorite photo-op spot for visitors.

The rotting tree was removed after a ceremony, attended by nearly 100 people, during which several speakers read Frost poems. Laura Burnham, chairwoman of the farm's board of trustees, said the ceremony and enthusiastic crowd brightened an otherwise mournful occasion.

"Sometimes, everything just comes together perfectly," she said. "It was the best thing that could happen to a sad day."

Organizers began planning to remove the tree early this year, after Burnham noticed that a large section of it had fallen off. She contacted experts and learned that the whole tree would have to be taken down for safety reasons; the tree was close enough to Frost's former home that it might have caused the structure damage if it fell on its own.

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