The first flip-flops of the fall semester are coming up the sidewalk across the lawn in front of Old Main.
Slap. Slap. Slap. Slap.
They stop short. There’s a brief rummaging sound, then the snapping open of a cellphone, followed by seven beeps.
Hey Brad, it’s me. I’m here on Old Main lawn, on that sidewalk above the Wall?
You’re where? Oh, sorry! But listen, you gotta come down here RIGHT NOW. I want you to tell me I’m not crazy!
Well, you know that tree with like the smooth gray bark and the great big limbs that reached all the way to the ground? The one we used to party under, and you carved our initials on it way up high where no one would see it unless they climbed?
Yeah, O.K., a weeping beech — whatever. I called it the Umbrella Tree.
Listen, it’s NOT HERE.
I’m DEAD serious. I’m standing here looking at a great big patch of smooth DIRT. It’s like, no stump or anything!
They’ve got the area all roped off, with ribbons and stuff. Oh wait, I guess I can walk around…
Yeah, I know it looked healthy last time we saw it, but that was like last MAY.
I don’t know, I’m just saying, maybe they HAD to cut it down.
No, I don’t see how our carving could’ve hurt it. People have been carving these trees like FOREVER. You remember that one on the other side of the sidewalk? “1970 – the year PSU burned”! It’s like a YEARBOOK or something.
Oh wait! Hold on! I was wrong! The tree’s STILL HERE!!!
No, I am NOT. I’m SERIOUS. You know that one big branch that bent down into the ground and came back up again? The one that we — uh, you know. They LEFT it, the part that comes back up! It must’ve put down its own roots! They just cut off a couple of its side branches or whatever. And there’s fresh barky stuff all around it.
WhatEVER. The point is, they’re keeping it! Like, they didn’t WANT to cut down the rest of the tree, but they HAD to.
Well, I don’t care if it IS just because of the alumni. Pretty soon we’ll be alumni too, ya know! Well, I will, anyway. You can go back to sleep now. I gotta get to class.
For all you procrastinators: today is the deadline to send in tree-related links for the third Festival of the Trees, which will be hosted on September 1 at Burning Silo. Send them to Bev at burning-silo (at) magickcanoe (dot) com, with “Festival of the Trees” in the subject line.