Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Senator - R.I.P.

My apologies for not posting to this blog for has been very busy as of late between my real job as a software engineer and family obligations.

My first post for this year is a sad one.

As I related in a previous post, the Orlando area was once home to the oldest and largest cypress tree in the U.S. and the fifth oldest tree in the world, at 3500 years old. Its residence was in Big Tree Park, a park dedicated in 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge. I felt sure that having lived so long, that my grandchildren and their grandchildren would, in turn, be able to enjoy this one-of-a-kind tree that had been around since the time of the Egyptian pyramids. Alas, this will not be so.

You see, a very selfish woman named Sara Barnes (click here to see the news article) decided to trespass on park property at night in order to feed her methamphetamine addiction, which was apparently something she did often. Near the big tree, she lit a fire so she could better see the drugs she was taking. On this very dry winter night, the fire quickly spread out of control and quickly burned through the center of the somewhat hollow tree. Firefighters bravely strung nearly a mile of hose to reach the tree and try to put out the fire, but it was too late. Within a matter of hours, the massive tree came crashing to the ground. 3500 years of history erased by a woman with a drug habit.

My family had only recently moved to the Orlando area, but we had visited this tree and park quite often. Thankfully, there is still a large tree on the property, Lady Liberty, estimated to be a mere 2000 years old, and there are a few other large trees in the nearby Black Hammock Preserve and Soldier Creek hiking trails...but the Senator was the oldest of them all, and now he is gone. Let's hope that Seminole County does a better job of guarding the remaining tree at the park so we don't get a repeat performance by another arsonist.


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