Tree of the Month: The Spectrum

Is it mockery to honor trees by laying ink upon one of their fallen brethren? 

John Swanson | Photo Courtesy

Not every tree gets to enjoy a full life. Some trees get chopped down because they may block a window, others are planted on Arbor Day only to be neglected every other day of the year. There are numerous treeseases, or tree diseases as the non-tree experts say, as well as greedy beavers that just have to chew down new trees to build their dams. These trees are the lucky ones. This article you are reading, if you are reading it in the physical paper, is in remembrance of the tree which basically lived a life of captivity so it could be milled and pressed into this paper. 

Not a black and white issue

At this point, who can tell what type of tree this was, which you now hold in your hands. Again, if you read this anywhere but in the physical paper (did you know we have a website?), the effect will not be the same. Moving on, these ghastly scrappings of a once great tree which you now hold in your hands are beyond recognition. Who could say what pattern its bark had? Who knows if it flowered—if its leaves fell off early or clung on through winter? What we do know is this was probably coniferous. Maybe you walked past a pine on your way to grab the paper. That tree could have ended up in your hands, just like this one. Now, of course, each paper was not made from an individual tree (for all we know), but what difference does it make? Lots of questions, no answers.

An aptly named tree

This former tree which is honored as Tree of the Month wears its name on the front with pride. At least, it would, if this was any other week. It would be unforgivable to stoop to the level of naming the tree The Rectum, but this unfortunately leads to further mockery as this paper is now falsely naming the tree. Sadly, this (sometimes) monthly column does not hold enough weight to convince the powers that be to put The Spectrum on the cover this week to honor the memory of this tree. I digress. 

The root of the problem

It may seem a bit backwards to pay tribute to the tree that we as a newspaper helped bring down. This is by no means a way to atone for the papers we print that never get read. We have no part in that. You should be the one who is ashamed, not us! We are not the ones who don’t grab the paper off the stands. Actually, on second thought, you are obviously reading this, so you are not guilty either. The person who has made it to their super senior year at NDSU and still does not know we have a paper is the one who needs to pay for their lack of humanity. Have they no care for the trees that sacrificed so much? 

From seed to read

A trees stands tall under a blue sky, at the peak of its life. The wind—blowing softly through its bristles reminds the pine that its alive. It has reached its full potential. Now, it is chopped down. However, it is also replaced. While this newspaper exists because a tree could not reach old age, it by no means resulted in fewer trees existing. The paper industry can only exist if new trees are planted. The silver lining is that The Spectrum lives on in the lives of these new, baby trees. Remember the fine tree that birthed this paper, but be happy that a new tree has taken its place—waiting for the day when it too can have portions of it trunk ground into a fibrous pulp to be used in the next edition of your student newspaper.

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