Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The Tree-minator: Putting Wood and Metal Together

On the west side of 16th St. NW, a little bit north of Walter Reed, there is a tree.

Well, there are lots of trees, since Rock Creek Park is right there. But this particular tree stands out.


It stands out because it has bits of metal in it. About three feet up and 10 feet up are jagged pieces of silver metal, stuck in and now being grown over. The metal is slightly crimped and corrugated and resembles nothing so much as that trim around an old D.C. Metrobus. And I'm convinced that's what it is.


On a lot of streets the trees closest to the road bear the brunt of our vehicular mistakes. This tree seems especially hard hit. Maybe it wasn't a Metrobus. Maybe it was an 18-wheeler (though that seems unlikely on 16th St.). Perhaps it was a fire truck. Whatever it was, the tree is scarred from the violence of the encounter.


Scarred but not defeated. It stood its ground. And now it stoically perseveres. Trees are good at that.


I was walking through Franklin Square the other day when I saw another unholy union of tree and metal. Several of the trees had little brown panels nailed in place at the bottom of their trunks. I'm assuming the metal was placed over natural hollows in the trees to keep out squirrels or rats, or perhaps to deny homeless people or drug dealers a place to stash their stuff.

Or maybe if you pry away the doors and climb in, you can go straight to the Faerie World.

By John Kelly  |  June 2, 2009; 10:01 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Cell Phones in High School: The Text Best Thing?
Next: DIY Sleuthing: D.C.'s Building Permit Database


I don't often go in for hero worship (we're often let down, aren't we?), and very rarely in the case of plants, but this tree is a hero. This is one tough organism. It some manages to grow to impressive size despite being hemmed in by asphalt. It breathes in car exhaust all day and pumps out oxygen for us to breath. Then, to top it all off, it takes a few swipes from giant cans of metal - careening along at speeds the tree can't even imagine traveling - and instead of being defeated by its man-made foe, the tree takes pieces of the enemy as trophies.

Posted by: Southwester | June 2, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

That's exactly what I thought. It wears that stuff like it was jewelry.

Posted by: JohnFKelly | June 2, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I was stationed at Walter Reed for the past 4 years and remember the incident that caused the adornment of this tree. There was a panel style delivery truck that struck the tree early one morning after jumping the curb, bounced off the tree and buried itself in the wood line. Not sure why the driver felt it was necessary to add to the tree, but it is amazing how resilient nature is regardless of our impact.

Posted by: skibo525 | June 3, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Silly John. They're camouflaging the entrance to Christmas Town...

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 3, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company