When Moses received the Ten Commandments, when Hatshepsut ruled Egypt, when the Phoenicians were developing their alphabet, The Senator was a young tree.  When Jesus was born, it was nearly 1500 years old.

It was the largest pond cypress in the United States, the largest native tree in Florida, and possibly the largest tree of any sort east of the Mississippi.  The oldest of its species in the United States, and one of the oldest trees in the world, it had stood for some 3500 years in what is now a small park near our home.  It was even older than Te Matua Ngahere, which we travelled to the ends of the earth to see.

We enjoyed visiting The Senator, and would have done so more often had the park not had a reputation for some nefarious goings-on at the time our children were young.  I can't access our own pictures at the moment, but there's picture in the Wikipedia article that looks much like ours, only with different people standing in front of the tree.  (You might have to wait till the blackout is over to see it.)

But the tree that was 2500 years old at the time of the Norman Conquest is no more.  The Senator was destroyed by fire yesterday, January 16, 2012.  Officially, arson has been ruled out, but I agree with Beth Kassab's call for a more serious investigation.  It is too easy to attribute the death of the elderly to natural causes.  Such a venerable being deserves better.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Edit
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UPDATE, February 28: Remember the "nefarious goings-on" I mentioned above? Apparently they haven't improved in the last 25 years.

A 26-year-old woman has now been arrested and charged with setting the fire that destroyed the Senator. From the Orlando Sentinel article:

[S]he told authorities she did it because she was wanted light to see the drugs she was doing ... [She] took photos of the flames with her cellphone ... She did not call the Fire Department or 911 to report the fire.

Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm
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