At first i was going to put a photo or two on Facebook…but then i realized that this is well worthy of a blog!
Whenever i cross the Hudson River by my home, if i have even a few extra minutes, i just have to pay a visit and my respect to one of my Great Heroes, the Balmville Tree. Just think of it, born before George Washington! Born before Georgie’s Mother, Mary! This type of tree, the Eastern Cottonwood, usually dies after 100 years. But this guy kept on growing. My photo is just a zoom on a bit of bark. Its belly is 25 feet around!
Before the Revolution even began, it sat outside a tavern and shaded folks as they drank and grumbled about King George and his odious taxes. In 1783-1784 a New George lived just down the road a bit. Over their brewskies many spoke of making him King now. Who knows, maybe George himself and Martha stopped there for dinner and laughed away such notions. The General was very clear that THAT is not at all what they fought for. All of those wonderful conversations are held, hidden, cherished inside those ancient crannies.
Franklin Roosevelt stopped many times to visit my pal, and he made sure that it went on the National Register of Historic Places. The 349 square foot cove has been America’s smallest state forest/national park – of ONE PHENOMENAL TREE!
Three times passed its normal lifespan, it really hit some turbulence on its 300th birthday. Hurricane Floyd claimed bragging rights for strength. The limbs began to tumble down. Dangers to neighboring homes and roadways meant near-death.
But there he still stands, his stump alone greater than any other tree in sight, and the eyes of George and Martha still watch over their friend and mine – for now.
Good to see you again, ole buddy.