Earlier today, the Barnard Community was deeply saddened to receive a construction update email with the news that our beloved magnolia tree (which was moved last fall in order to build Barnard’s new Teaching and Learning Center) may be on its last limbs. Despite the recent warm weather, Maggie’s leaves have still failed to emerge, which, according to Barnard’s arborists, is “not good news.” In honor of the tree (and its apparently imminent demise), Bwogger Betsy Ladyzhets has composed a eulogy.
How it pains us to look upon you, Magnolia.
We slumbered beneath you in summer and shivered with you in winter,
Wept beneath you in autumn and cheered with you in spring.
You are the center of our campus and of our hearts,
Never faltering, never failing, always blossoming
Bold and beautiful as the women who walk past you each day.
Your branches once opened to us like the arms of our mothers,
Bright and brilliant, colorful and courageous –
A beacon of hope extending beyond campus walls.
But now, we weep for you, Magnolia.
We weep for your color, your brilliance, your joy,
We weep for the spirit you brought us and the pride you taught us,
We weep for the girls that will never see you in spring.
And we weep most of all for the time, the space,
The vast effort spent to move you that has now gone to waste.
Where will first-years go now, when crammed into triples,
Unable to concentrate in the construction, and missing home dearly,
They seek out a quiet space of their own to take a break?
And what of the sophomores, burdened by heavy course loads,
The juniors struggling with crammed schedules, the seniors afraid of adulthood –
Where will they go, when the world seems unfamiliar and changing too fast,
With no respect for their needs or the struggles they face?
Where will they go, what can they do?
They say, they will plant a new tree in your stead.
But Magnolia, in your absence, with grief will we tread.
Message from Quenta Vettel’s construction update email:
As many of you know, the magnolia tree was moved to its new location last fall in order to make room for the construction of the new building. A few weeks ago we mentioned in an update that we expected to see its leaves emerge once the warm weather arrived. Unfortunately, this has not happened, which, according to our arborists, is not good news. We always knew it was risky to move a tree as big and mature as the magnolia, and we had hoped and expected it would do well in its new location. If worse comes to worst, we intend to plant a new tree in its place for many more generations to enjoy. We will continue to keep you posted as the summer progresses.
The end of a legacy? via Bwog staff