The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein was my favorite book to read to my kids about a tree; no matter what phase of life it was in, it was always giving. First it provided shade, then a hiding spot, a place to climb, apples to sell, wood to build a home, and in the end what seemed like a sad stump was also a place to sit and rest one’s weary bones.
Haldane’s playground has a “Giving Tree.” It was a spot to meet my kids. It gave me shade while I watched them on the playground. As the subject of many art classes over the years, thanks to Mrs. Cendali, I know our tree has been appreciated. With my youngest of three kids going into sixth grade, my middle going into 10th and my oldest a sophomore in college, Haldane’s Giving Tree has been a monument throughout their lives. Many generations of Philipstown families will miss this tree.
I did notice over the last few years that our Giving Tree was starting to lean. I wondered if I was imagining it leaning a little more each year, but last Spring I noticed that the tree didn’t have as many leaves, and those that grew seemed to be turning brown and covered the blacktop earlier than the fall season. The angle of the Giving Tree scared me a little, and I was saddened to think it might be coming close to the end of its life.
Today, I happened to stop at Haldane and was a witness to the taking down of our giving tree. I was shocked, but I knew it was for the safety of our children. I hope we can all reminisce in the joy Haldane’s Giving Tree gave us, and thanks to Mr. Silverstein’s wisdom, perhaps we can find a new way to enjoy the remnants of our tree.