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

2 minute read

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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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com