Email From A Condemned Tree, Begging For Mercy

from:Old Oak Tree <tree547632@saveoldoaks.org>
to:Oakton Building Committee <schoolbuildingcommittee@oakton.nj.us.org>
date:November 1, 2021, 10:57 AM
subject:Please Don’t Kill Me

Dear School Building Committee,

You know who I am. The enormous, 250-year-old Oak tree standing in the way of your shiny new elementary school. The tree you plan to EXECUTE in the next five days, along with 425 of my younger brethren.

I was born during the American Revolution and have lived through 71 Town Managers, 39 school superintendents, 254 curriculum changes and 9,077 screaming parents yelling at their progeny to kick the ball harder at the nearby soccer field. Not to mention donating 1,858 leaves and too-many-to-count acorns for school art projects.

Meeting my end with an extremely loud chainsaw feels unnecessarily VIOLENT. 

Look, I get it that I am a tree NON-GRATA. A towering plant with ZERO RIGHTS in a world populated by humans who secretly fear and loathe nature.

Please, I beg of you to take MERCY on me. I’m an elderly tree, a senior citizen with WISDOM to share and lots of diameter to HUG. I’ve photosynthesized 3,960,000 gallons of oxygen for this town. Hell, the town is even named after me. 

But thanks to an ineffective “green” committee, I’m the last Oak tree in town. Wouldn’t a “green” group try to SAVE the last of anything? How can Oakton exist if all the oak trees it was named after have been EXTERMINATED?

Can I impress on you anymore that I love LIFE. I love CHILDREN. I even love it when people tip back their necks to see how high my leaves jut into the SKY. My request is simple: To be able to contribute to the town I grew up in as long as I can and then die peacefully of old age. 

Thank you for your consideration,
Old Oak Tree

from:Oakton Building Committee <schoolbuildingcommittee@oakton.nj.us.org>
to:Old Oak Tree <tree547632@saveoldoaks.org>
date:November 2, 2021, 3:27 PM
subject:Re: Please Don’t Kill Me

Dear Old Oak Tree,

Thank you for your correspondence. We take all comments from the public seriously and will get back to you within the next three weeks. 

Sincerely,
School Building Committee

from:Old Oak Tree <tree547632@saveoldoaks.org>
to:Oakton Building Committee <schoolbuildingcommittee@oakton.nj.us.org>
date:November 3, 2021, 5:26 AM
subject:Re: Re: Please Don’t Kill Me


Dear School Committee,

Perhaps, you didn’t fully read my letter. My SLAUGHTER is imminent. I’m going to be hacked to death with a high-powered hatchet, my many limbs SEVERED from my torso, my head LOPPED OFF to plummet to the ground – all without the aid of SEDATIVES OR PAINKILLERS. Please understand this is going to hurt big time. I’ve seen it happen to hundreds of family and friends in this grove. You may not see them writhing in excruciating agony, but I can assure you they are suffering until the last MURDEROUS blow. It’s truly awful and I’m losing a lot of sleep just thinking about my upcoming JOAN OF ARC moment here.

Nervous as hell in Oakton,
Old Oak Tree

from:Oakton Building Committee <schoolbuildingcommittee@oakton.nj.us.org>
to:Old Oak Tree <tree547632@saveoldoaks.org>
date:November 4, 2021, 2:06 PM
subject:Re: Re: Re: Please Don’t Kill Me

Dear Old Oak Tree,

Thank you for your correspondence. We take all comments from the public seriously and will get back to you within the next three weeks. 

Sincerely,
School Building Committee

from:Old Oak Tree <tree547632@saveoldoaks.org>
to:Oakton Building Committee <schoolbuildingcommittee@oakton.nj.us.org>
date:November 5, 2021, 4:05 AM
subject:Re: Re: Re: Re: Please Don’t Kill Me


Dear School Committee,

Perhaps, I’ve assumed too much. Some of you may be newer to town and probably in need of a local history refresher to SPARE my life. Here goes: 

I’ve stood tall and proud in front of this elementary school since it was built in 1939, a respected, revered and recognized PILLAR of the community. I’ve provided shade for outdoor classes and INSPIRATION for thousands of stories. I’ve attracted songbirds who perch on my branches and serenade all who enter the school. I’ve welcomed colorful lights draped around my crown during the “Winter Festival of KINDNESS.” And I’ve never charged a penny. Total volunteerism and SELFLESSNESS from day one. 

Please, please, please, I’m triple begging you to reimagine your 21st century school to include someone everyone can look up to, someone with impeccable CHARACTER and incorruptible MORALS. If one of the district’s new initiatives is to provide more solid ROLE MODELS for the next generation. Well, that would be me.

Tomorrow will be my last day on Earth unless you give me a stay of execution. Would you consider doing that for an ancient tree with a heart of gold? I’d be forever GRATEFUL.

Feeling alone and unloved in Oakton,
Old Oak Tree

from:Oakton Building Committee <schoolbuildingcommittee@oakton.nj.us.org>
to:Old Oak Tree <tree547632@saveoldoaks.org>
date:November 6, 2021, 1:02 PM
subject:Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please Don’t Kill Me

Dear Old Oak Tree,

Thank you for your correspondence. We take all comments from the public seriously and will get back to you within the next three weeks. 

Sincerely,
School Building Committee

8 comments

  1. Awww, In Sarasota, I witnessed a lot of Old Oak demises, despite purportedly being protected. And a pine tree that had a pair of nesting eagles in it was cut down for a county-authorized project. So this would just about sum it up, if Sarasota trees could talk. Poor tree!

    Like

  2. I smiled, I teared up, and I absolutely love the modern-day epistolary format. Thank you for this poignant and important piece about a ubiquitous tragedy.

    Like

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