It is not the purpose of this blog to serve as a source of breaking news, but, as no one in town has been willing to come out with this story, I'm going to jump in. Seriously, where are you guys? Why is this not lighting up Twitter?
So, some time after closing at Clyde's last night, but before around ten am, the People Tree sculpture at Lake Kittamaqundi was stolen. Yes, stolen. It's gone. There's just a hole there now. It's hard to know when it was removed because there just weren't many people around at the Lakefront area. There was no one there to see or hear anything.
An employee at Clyde's discovered the crime while on his way to work Sunday brunch. "Whoever did it left all these little notes, kind of smudgy typing, stuck on with Scotch tape. They said, 'We are the 66.' And, 'Tree People for the People Tree.' It's just weird."
A friend of mine at the Columbia Flier said the cleaning staff found a typewritten letter slipped under the door of the offices this morning. The gist of it was that the People Tree has been "liberated" in order to be remounted in Symphony Woods. The group plans to sell "Preservation Rights" for each of the 50 trees slated for removal in the upcoming Symphony Woods Park Project. They intend to use these funds (1,000 dollars per tree!) to situate the People Tree in its new location.
From the letter, "The People Tree was never meant to be a corporate commercial symbol, a trademark of greedy developers. It belongs, like every tree in Symphony Woods, to the people of Columbia."
I know I'm not a journalist. I've just been shooting frantic emails to anyone who might know something. A community historian confirmed my suspicions that the phrase, "We are the 66" refers to the sixty-six human figures which make up the People Tree. I called a friend who has his finger on the pulse of various demographic groups in Columbia. I asked if he thought there might actually be sixty-six members of this group who managed to keep a plan of this magnitude under wraps.
"Not a chance," he said. "This has got to be the work of a small group of cranky individuals."
I asked a blogger friend on the CA Board what he thought of this analysis.
"I am sincerely disappointed at this suggestion that the Board might be responsible for yet another display of outrageous behavior," he replied by email. "We don't have a patent on cranky, you know."
Since it is a Sunday, I don't expect much hard news on this, but I'm hoping that the investigative team at Columbia Patch will be on this full force tomorrow. The view from Lakeside must be empty, somehow. I mean, this is more than poinsettias, folks.
In the meantime, my daughter has a great idea. "Why don't we just plant a real tree there?" she suggested.
You know, with some help from the Reforestation people of CA, and some decent
publicity /spin from the County Executive's Office, this just might turn out okay.