RICHMOND, Va — A healthy 38-year-old oak in a small grassy median at the head of a Fan intersection worries that its very existence could be threatened.
Planted in the late 70s as part of a pro-arbor project sponsored by the city, this now sturdy tree has become a hallmark of its intersection, often referred to by locals as “y’know, THAT tree.” Now rumors have started to circulate, placing this tree’s land at the center of a popular proposal for the construction of a new monument.
Currently under consideration by the city, the monument would honor famed late 70s Richmond arborist Samuel Dokins. “The irony is nowhere near lost on me,” the tree told us while whipping a branch across its mossy brow, “but I’ve seen this happen plenty of times to good, strong trees that were twice my age.”
The tree has maintained itself well beyond what a gardener would usually recommend for so young a plant, often checking its acorns for bumps and having biannual root exams. “I’m in great shape and I know it, but I also know the power of a well-backed petition for a new monument being put to the test against a board of part-time local officials with a healthy discretionary budget.”
The tree even went on to agree that its moderately sized rectangular plot could easily be converted to accommodate a monument of almost any design, “maybe even with a few completely un-sittable benches.”
When reached for comment, surrounding trees lent little support to their threatened neighbor. “I’m just glad I’ve lived my whole life encased in the safety of a cement sidewalk,” one spruce confided.
A 104-year-old oak a block away went so far as to suggest the younger tree should “suck it up.” He told us, “When I was his age you were lucky if you got made into a shed instead of a shithouse. Making way for a monument is a great honor and these young upstarts should learn the meaning of sacrifice.”
While it remains to be seen if it will become Richmond’s next topiary victim, the tree made a point of using this moment to raise awareness.
“Much of Richmond’s greenery has been or will be threatened by groups of human residents insisting on honoring a long-dead member of their species by destroying a long-living member of ours.”
The tree urges other local growths to remain vigilant, whether they be sapling, shrub, or invasive weed.