100 years. 36,500 days. 876,000 hours. 52 million minutes. All it took was one hour to devastate the most profound landmark of our school yard. Between 8 and 9 am on a very unsuspecting Wednesday morning, years of gradual growth, memories and a place in every Kungsholmer’s heart was in a very effective manner sawed down into a mere pile of sawdust and leaves. Why would anyone destroy a monument like this? Who made the decision?
When it stood at the pinnacle of its beauty with warm colours of autumn covering the tree in yellow and orange, Kungsholmen’s tree of knowledge was chopped down, according to the school’s administration, by Stockholms Stad. A tree that saw 30,000 students shout their very last shouts of joy as they threw up their arms in the air for their utspring, a tree that saw hundreds of thousands of friends and family watching them, of which I am one, and countless many more pictures of this event, always with the tree of knowledge standing firm in the background. A tree that has seen countless shades of autumn, countless kisses, smokes, hugs, deep talks and snowball fights. A tree that grew old with the school.
Although Stockholms Stad gave no clear reason for removing the tree after a brief telephone dialogue, it has been thought that the tree was growing old and sick and it was time for an old soldier to be put out of its misery rather than it becoming barren, bare and leafless. Would I rather have seen it in its autumn colours and summer bloom for at least another few years? Absolutely. Will the now rather oddly placed bend in the railing make the school yard look rather empty? Why, yes it will. However, when I stepped out of the dance hall on that Wednesday morning to see two men with chainsaws doing what I only assumed to be trimming our dear tree, I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it looked in the morning sun with its orange red colours causing a beautiful storm of leaves. An hour later it was gone. Perhaps this was the perfect opportunity for it to go, for it to be remembered in all its splendour rather than wither and die.
Not only do we mourn the loss of this titan as a metaphor for the tree of knowledge that Kungsholmen students so famously strive for. Not only do we mourn the tree of knowledge for its bright colours on any sunny autumn day, filling our school environment with warmth. We mourn the loss of the tree of knowledge for what it saw. The memories of the thousands of students to whom it belongs, the growth of a KG spirit in students from their first nervous fish throw to their day of reckoning as completely different human beings. The tree saw our school and its pupils grow up and experience some of the best years of their lives.
There will always be a space in our hearts for you, dear tree.
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