Hey, there! Log in / Register

Saying farewell to a friend in Jamaica Plain

Notebook entry remembering the time a heron was there and caught a fish

Last November, somebody noticed a problem with the "elbow tree," a distinctive birch tree near the Jamaica Pond boathouse with a prominent limb pointing downward at the water, rather than up - its trunk had begun to split open. That's a sign of impending death and the person attached a couple of small notebooks and a pencil to the tree both so that people could measure the crack as it spread and to say goodbye to the longtime pondside attraction.

Today, the crack was wide enough to hold both notebooks, which have filled with farewells:

Note expressing love for the elbow tree
Note expressing love for the elbow tree and a warning about the geese
Note expressing love for the elbow tree

The growing crack (with two small notebooks up near the top, and a pencil to the right):

The crack

Measuring the crack:

Measurements of the crack

The tree, its unusual limb and the unusual vista when the water's particularly still (the crack is just to the right of this photo):

The tree
Free tagging: 


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!


I think someone needs to go serenade the tree with this most fitting song before it is gone.

Voting closed 10

Curse you Tach, now I have the "feels", not cool (sniff...sniff...now where's that bourbon?).

Voting closed 7

Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.

Kahlil Gibran

Voting closed 31

I haven't seen so much tree decay in decades. What is going on?

Voting closed 1

It's been low since I was a kid (long time ago) so I'm sure age, etc., finally got it.

The trees on the J-way need help/pruning but I doubt it will happen.

Voting closed 1

A climate that is changing? New England simply is not as cold as it used to be. Probably due to the weird sun rays that a Harvard-Smithsonian scientist used to testify to Congressional committees.

Erosion? As soil erodes and shifts the overall support for the tree shifts. The branch hanging over the water may not be pulling the tree so far away that any weaknesses in the trunk are exacerbated resulting in a fracture in the middle of the trunk.

Extremes of heat and cold. There was a tree near the school at Carolina and South that literally split in the center by about a foot in length. Literally fractured the center of the trunk so that a person could see through to the other side. Of course this opens the tree to possible infections, etc.

A changing climate the contributes to disease? There was a magnificent horse chestnut tree in JP. Disease killed it. Varieties of apple trees are susceptible to a blight that kills a mature tree in just a few months.

Further conditions that weaken trees. Depressing or suppressing their sources of energy.

The controversy about the newest Boston billionaires' monstrosity rising downtown was based on the fact that this building will create conditions that depress the health of the tree canopy in The Public Garden. Legislators knew that; including JP's own legislators knew that. But money is God and developers are the priests, bishops and popes. But I digress.

Another digression: Simmons wants to build towers that will generate the same conditions that weaken and shorten the lives of trees along the Olmstead Linear Park. They want variances concerning natural light that will decrease photosynthesis of the trees in the Olmstead Linear Park. Will the God of Money, the demi-gods of status and prestige (for Simmons' millionaire dollar exec) and the priests of Developers manage to cause more damage to Boston's tree canopy?

Voting closed 5

You can rule out a lighting strike. No charring evident. A smaller tree in my backyard got split in half by lighting. What a show that was.

Voting closed 1