Aging Altoona tree prepares for final day

Editor’s Note: Nancy Collins of Altoona wrote the following about a tree at her house that she must take down at her own expense to repair the sidewalks:

“Hi, I am a maple tree that grows on a street in Altoona. I have seen a lot in my 50-some years. Neighbors come and go, cars and trucks pass by me. But do they appreciate the life of a tree?

“In my lifetime, I have been hit, peed on, cut with knives and hatchets and even shot with pellet guns. But no complaints, I stood proud and strong on my street.

“I am most proud of the day I was able to protect three little children playing in the yard behind me. A tractor and trailer came up onto the sidewalk, and I stood in the way and it hit me instead of the three little ones. I lost a limb that day, but it was worth it.

“I know people complain about my leaves and helicopters falling once a year; they are only human. But they forget I give back so much more. I absorb carbon dioxide, harmful gases and release oxygen into the air, which we need to live. And I’m nice to look at.

“I provide homes for songbirds, give a place for squirrels and chipmunks to play and rest. Give shade on those hot summer days, which everyone likes to park under me. And all the beauty especially in the fall with my bright colored leaves.

“So, in closing, I must sadly say goodbye. My days are numbered. My human neighbors have to cut me down to fix the sidewalks.

“Since I have to go, I just hope I am not just used for firewood. It would be nice to become a chair or small table so I could keep on giving.

“Goodbye, and thank you for listening.”

Nancy Collins