A short time ago a Shelburne resident approached me regarding the beautiful old sycamore tree in Shelburne Falls. This person had fond memories of her first visit to the tree with someone special in her life. I went to the town clerk’s office and looked through some town reports dating back to the 1800s but found no information. I asked some of the family members that had lived on the property for many years. The one thing they remember is that their father would have the tree fertilized and pruned every year or two. It is estimated to be 150-200 years old. It is one of Shelburne’s greatest trees. The woman even brought me a photo of the sycamore. I paid a visit to the tree and took pictures, which resulted in this poem I have subtitled “A Witness Tree,” because of the many years it has witnessed change.
The Shelburne Falls Sycamore
“A Witness Tree”
Written somewhere long ago
In the lost journals of time,
A seed laid unto soil,
Was fed by rain and sunshine.
Having escaped storm and drought
And man’s desire to build.
Saved from sharp teeth of the saw,
And your limbs from being milled.
A witness to changing times
Where secrets and dreams were made.
Perhaps where young lovers kissed
Beneath its plentiful shade.
Symbol of strength and beauty,
Your crown reaching for the sky;
A monument to nature;
Something your money can’t buy.
— by Rick Bessette