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Friday, March 2, 2012

3500 year old cypress succumbs to meth induced madness

It had stood for 3500 years. The 120’ tall pond cypress was the world`s oldest specimen of such trees. Springing to life in 1500 BC it had withstood all that nature and man could throw at it, it had weathered many a vicious storm, endured countless droughts and ravaging floods. As a child growing up in central Florida in the early sixties, I visited the majestic king many a time, my father having a deep appreciation for the “Senator”, as it was called, named for State Senator Moses Overstreet who donated the tree and surrounding land for a park. A mere forty to fifty feet away stands it`s mate, “Lady Liberty”, at the tender young age of 2000, it was a child compared to it`s senior sentry of the land. For untold centuries the native Indians had used the tree as a landmark and gathering place and early settlers had come to view the towering timber long before the park had been erected to provide easy access. But all of it`s might and courage to survive across such a broad stretch of time, could not prepare the old master for the ravages of ignorance that one Sarah Barnes would inflict upon it in a drug induced display of stupidity and contempt. On January 16th in a craving to hit the meth pipe one more time, Ms Barnes set the base of the giant tree on fire. Did she 220px-Senatorimmediately call 911 in an attempt to save the towering inferno she had created?…NO, she snapped pictures on her cellphone of her handy work and bragged to friends! In a matter of minutes the 5th oldest tree in the world and the largest tree east of the Mississippi came crashing down, a mighty life extinguished by a lowlife cretin that displays nothing but malice and contempt toward anything and everything that dosen`t bring her a high. If ever justice cried out for retribution, now is the time. Ms Barnes did not merely burn down a tree, as I am sure some would propose, she took from all of us a living symbol of the past. She displayed a bitter arrogance toward all from the future who would have enjoyed the heartfelt wonder of looking up at such a wondrous gift from nature as I did as a young child and the awe inspiring feeling it brought being in the presence of such a creation. No, this is not about burning down a tree…