Yesterday’s infamous Maggie Move was an emotional time for all of us  – but for few so much as Maddie Stearn, Senior Staff Writer and tree lover. Maddie watched the majority of the move yesterday, and both recapped and reflected upon her experience for anyone who might not have been willing to watch the same tree for almost 6 hours.

When you wait 5 hours and 45 minutes for a tree to move, you have a lot of time to think.

Or, if you spend 3 hours waiting for the tree to move, then go take a 90-minute nap, then head to Liz’s place for tea, and later jump in surprise upon looking out the window and seeing a tree hovering in the “night” sky (it was 4:45 pm)—you still have a very long time to think. This is hypothetical, of course.

Nevertheless, during this long waiting process most of my own thoughts revolved around the tree (also sleep, but mostly the tree). At 11:00am I was pumped to watch a 20,000-pound plant move 30 feet, but my enthusiasm took a severe hit throughout the day. As much as I love construction equipment, I eventually got to the point where I just kept asking myself, What are we doing?

I also somehow became the unofficial spokesperson for Excuse-Me-But-What-Exactly-Is-Happening-To-That-Tree – if you stand in one place for long enough, then neighborhood people will start asking you questions. In my new role, I witnessed a wide variety of reactions to Maggie’s Move. Most of the reactions can be broken down into 3 categories:

1) Wow! That tree is a landmark. I hope it lives! But it probably won’t.
2) They’re just … moving it backwards?
3) What a colossal waste.

Sometimes I witnessed all three reactions at once. I also experienced all three.

Maggie, however, seemed less conflicted:

Maggie 1

Maggie 2

Well played, Maggie. Well played.

As the move dragged on, there was a tangible shift in people’s reactions to the tree. While some spectators were initially excited for Maggie’s Big Move, by the evening it seemed that the crowd was growing more and more frustrated by the fact that we were watching a tree move 30 feet (to great expense).

Now, it seems that we can only hope that the move was (somewhat) worth it, and that the tree survives.

Update: Barnard Communications shared a time-lapse video of the entire move. It’s actually pretty crazy to watch.

All of the Maggies via Maddie Stearn and @BCMagnoliaTree’s Twitter

Video via the Barnard College Youtube Channel