To the Editor:
I am writing this letter for an old friend. This old friend lives on Court Street in Canton behind the old Newman Center. My old friend is an ancient cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata). It is the largest and oldest of its species in the North Country. The St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union is planning on building a drive-through bank at this location.
It is my hope that they can incorporate this heritage tree into their plans for the driveway/parking lot so that it does not have to be cut down with a chainsaw and hauled away piece by piece to make room for a sterile black-topped parking lot.
This grand tree just finished blooming last week. Its simple yellow-green flowers were numerous as always and they littered the parking lot for days afterwards. Unfortunately it never sets any seed as there is no mate in the vicinity to cross-pollinate with. I have planted a cucumber magnolia and several cucumber magnolia hybrids on the SUNY Canton campus. It was my hope that sometime in the future, this old tree might be able to reproduce so that I might gather seeds from it to grow.
It is relatively easy to tear down an old building…if it is not the house you were raised in. It seems easy to put an old person in a nursing home…unless it is your parent. It is pretty easy to cut an old tree…if you did not plant it.
I write with a wistful sentiment. I hope that the credit union’s board of directors in Ogdensburg will consider keeping this beautiful, vibrant reminder of the past as a torch for the future. Please work around the tree in your building project and let it live on for another hundred years as a visible connection to our past.