This is my last day – February 19, 2021 – It’s a hard day, but not a bad day: 300 years – 1,200 seasons – 3,600 months – 109,575 days. Many people are here: A cinematographer; a newspaper man; much of Mark’s family; John Mast, the Lumberjack; friends and neighbors plus curious observers from I-75. It’s good not to be alone on this day – it makes me feel valued.
The day started at dawn with Keegan Burner, the cinematographer, there to begin to record the day's events. Slowly, the others arrived. About 9 a.m., John put ropes on my branches and he started to climb upward carrying his chain saw. One by one my branches were dropped to the ground. Then at 12:41 p.m., my base was completely cut, but I did not fall. I wanted one last moment. Then at the gentle urging of a forklift at my base - I fell with a loud crash. I had fallen back to the earth that had nurtured me all those years.
John found a surprise in my stump. The years had left my trunk partially hollowed out. Part of my once solid base had turned to rich potting soil. In that soil, 18 inches in from my bark, a 5” tall intact bottle was found. It was placed there almost 100 years ago by a friend who once regularly prayed and ate lunch in my shade as the world endured the Great Depression. It was an olive jar. Just one of my secrets.
Soon, my limbs and trunk will be transported to John’s sawmill where I will begin my next life. I will be cut into live edge slabs. John will let me dry for about one year, and then I’ll be put in a kiln for two months. Finally, I’ll be ready to become furniture and be adopted into many homes.
It’s humbling to know that people are interested in me – I don’t understand why – but, thank you.