When I was in West Virginia earlier this year, I toyed with the idea of detouring from my route to go to Webster Springs to see “The Big Sycamore”, a 500-year-old giant sycamore tree around which the town of Webster Springs has officially sanctioned a park. I’d always been told that the sight of this tree was moving to tree-lovers such as myself.
But, we were pressed and I couldn’t budget the time it would take to get to Big Sycamore Park and back along our route homeward. I figured if it had lived for 500 years, then certainly I could wait a few more months until I’d get another chance to see this grand, old tree.
However, on the night of September 1, 2007, some locals who had set up camp in the park and were (according to the evidence later found by police) drinking heavily, decided that it would be fun to burn down The Big Sycamore. To do this, they poured gasoline into the hollow at the base of the tree and set it alight. At this time, it’s not known if the sycamore will survive, or will have to be cut down.
I may have missed my chance to see this giant remnant of the forests that once covered West Virginia. I’m heading up that way in a couple of weeks, and I’ll phone the park officials in Webster Springs to learn if the tree is still around, and if it’s still accessible to those of us who wish to gaze upon a living thing that was 300 years old before even our nation came into being.
As for the monsters who burned The Big Sycamore, I can only hope one of their worthless, drunken number will brag about how they did their filthy best to destroy the tree. And I hope that these human examples of moving excrement can be punished in some way. Alas, we do not allow the public burning of humans, so I will assume these walking bags of puke will merely receive some minor slap.