Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Big Trees, Harmony and No Worries in Vermont

While on a work assignment in southern Vermont, I stopped for a sandwich at the Harmonyville Store, in a section of  Townshend called Harmonyville.
Vermont's largest sycamore looms
over the Harmonyville Store

I have to say it was with great trepidation that I was in Harmonyville. I had this irrational thought that anybody who steps foot in this village with the melodious title would have to prove they could sing, and sing damn well.

And if the singing voice is sub-par, the village elders would stand me up in the Harmonyville Store parking lot and give me a 21-gun salute, so to speak. My funeral services would be held at a later date.

When I sing, I sound like a horny walrus with a wicked case of strep throat.   Any day now,  a military Special Ops unit will call me, whisk me away to Syria, and make me sing Lady Gaga's song "Bad Romance" outside the palace of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, as a way to finally rid that country of its embattled dictator.

Anyway, there were no embattled dictators in Harmonyville, Vermont, at least as far as I could tell. And (YAY!!) nobody asked me to sing.

Which left me time to see one of Vermont's most wonderful attractions looming over the Harmonyville Store. It's the state's biggest sycamore tree.

You'd think that's not a big deal, because I swear Vermont has, like 12 sycamore trees, total. It's practically all sugar maples, here, folks.

But this sycamore is truly amazing.  The fact that I'm telling you its 175 years old and 115 feet tall with a 63 inch diameter just doesn't do it justice. The trunk is so huge, if four NBA players suddenly decided to hug the sycamore in unison, their fingers would not meet each other.
The sign proves that the big tree
in the background is damn big

(By the way, if you ever see four NBA players hugging the Harmonyville sycamore, call me, STAT! I want a picture of that.)

The sycamore has at least seven main branches, each the size of a 150 year old maple. Even the sycamore's leaves live large. Some were almost twice as big as either of my hands.

One of those enormous branches looms directly over the roof of the Harmonyville Store.  If it ever fell, it would smush the poor little Harmonyville Store just as much as the ant I killed in my kitchen yesterday when I stomped on it with my work boots. I'm still trying to scrub the ant remains from the floor.

I asked the nice young man at the cash register about that sycamore threat. He said he doesn't give it a second thought. "I'm not the type to worry," he said with some understatement.  "Besides, the tree is leaning the other way."
I let it go at that and didn't ask the store clerk to sing, just to check. I didn't want to cause trouble.

So I went outside and ate my sandwich under that beautiful sycamore tree.  If only it could talk.........
A view looking up the trunk of Vermont's
largest sycamore tree.

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