California's Central Valley Impacted By Major Drought
VISALIA, CA - FEBRUARY 5: A tree stump in an avocado grove, one of the permanent crops of the area that some farmers are cutting back because of the expense of year-round water needs, is seen on February 5, 2014 near Visalia, California. Now in its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years and possible the worst in the past 500 years. Grasslands that support cattle have dried up, forcing ranchers to feed them expensive supplemental hay to keep them from starving or to sell at least some of their herds, and farmers are struggling with diminishing crop water and what to plant or whether to tear out permanent crops which use water year-round such, as almond trees. About 17 rural communities could run out of drinking water within several weeks and politicians are are pushing to undo laws that protect several endangered species. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) David McNew—Getty Images

People Have a Lot of Feelings About This Viral Real-Life Giving Tree That Got Cut Down

Mar 14, 2017

A poetic soul has given new life to a freshly-chopped tree stump in Oakland, CA, according to a popular photo that popped up on Reddit and has elicited thousands of comments. Writer Shel Silverstein's thoughtful 1964 children's book The Giving Tree explores the poignant relationship between a selfless, sentient arboreal being that provides and provides and the boy that takes all of its gifts during the many stages of his life. Someone chose to inscribe the newly-hewn stump with the final lines of that elegiac poem, in a tender tribute.

"I don't need very much now, said the boy, "just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired." "Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, "well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting—come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest." And the boy did.

As the New York Times' California Today email newsletter points out, the tree was uncut as early as a week ago. How and why it was chopped remains something of a mystery; a spokesperson for Oakland's public works department could not provide further information on the chair-like new life of the stump. But Redditors have taken up the poetic lament for the departed tree, sharing personal stories of grief, loss, and remembrance of the Silverstein story's effect on their youth.

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