, Gloucester, MA

January 16, 2013

Letter: The compassionate fall of a magnificent oak

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

The dictionary gives the following definition of compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another’s suffering or misfortune, accompanied by a desire to alleviate the pain or remove its cause.

I believe our small city of Gloucester is exemplary in this respect. On Cape Ann, we have numerous charitable organizations: Wellspring, Pathways, Open Door, Action Inc., Cape Ann Animal Aid – the list continues, including churches and temples. And just recently, even one land preservation organization joined this noble list.

It rushed to alleviate the suffering of one person. This person, X, lost sleep because he could not have as much ocean view as he wanted.

Imagine that! The obstacle of the view was an oak. X wanted to cut it down but could not because that damned oak was not on his property. It was in an open space and that space was under the auspices of a trust.

So, X went to the trustees:

Please remove that oak from my view, it makes my life miserable.

In what respect?

I lie in bed hoping to fall asleep but I can’t,1 knowing I will not be able to see enough ocean.

So, take a sleeping pill.

I did but my dreams are horrible and I am very nervous all day. I even tried marijuana – nothing helps. This oak kills me.

What oak are you talking about?

That big old English oak.

Oh, English… It makes sense … Perfidious Albion’s legacy! These stiff upper lip, damn Brits not only burned the White House in 1814 they also polluted the Gulf of Mexico just a few years ago. Don’t worry, we’ll take it down.

And they did: A magnificent century old tree is gone.

But there is no bad without good.

Mushroom lovers will benefit from this boundless charity because, in 50 years, honey mushrooms will spring from the decayed roots of that oak.


Norwood Heights, Gloucester