A 130 year old Pecan Tree
Standing in the back lot of Rio Robles (an over 55 retirement community) is the
oldest retiree in the area, a venerable 130 year old pecan tree. The old tree, which I call
Max because of the maximum pecan output he provides, offers shade, protection,
oxygen, beauty and a sense of majesty to an otherwise non-descript piece of
In the last few days the board of directors of Rio Robles made a decision to cut
ol’ Max down, and end his life. No reason was given, it was just the thing to do and it
was going to happen.
Some residents of the park, including my wife and me, heard about this travesty
at the eleventh hour and decided that we just couldn’t let ol’ Max go. A confrontation
occurred when two board directors happened to meet several of the concerned
residents. The reasoning behind the need for Max to go included several different
reasons, none of which made much sense. The reasons even changed as you talked to
different board members. It seemed that the board made decisions without input from
any residents, who are shareholders in the corporation. The wishes of the residents
meant nothing. A petition to stop the tree cutting was created and seventy-one
signatures were secured in a matter of three hours in 98 degree weather.
Fast forward to the next day and a closed meeting of the board was called.
Approximately twenty residents stood outside the meeting room. Ultimately, the
residents were allowed in and were able to explain their feelings. After the residents
were asked to leave, the board sent an email to the residents stating that the
destruction of the tree would be postponed and a “trimming and a topping” of the tree
would take place on July 7, the following day.
After consultation with an arborist and tree experts, the residents learned that
“topping” the tree would result in its death. This fact incensed the residents. They
wrapped four yellow ribbons around Max. A canopy and chairs were placed near the
tree. The residents began taking shifts to monitor the area and guard Max, prohibiting
anyone from taking a chainsaw to him.
As of July 8, Max still stands guarded by concerned residents. I passed by this
morning and I could sense of feeling of relief coming from Max and possibly a smile
emanating from his upper branches.