• James Armstrong

Requiem for a mighty Hudson oak tree


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

At 177.8 cm (70 inches) across at its widest point, the stump of an oak tree in Saint James’ cemetery remains as an epitaph to a life well lived.

The life of a centurial oak at the edge of the Saint James’ Anglican Church cemetery came to an abrupt end the morning of Thursday, September 17 and, befitting its stature, in attendance was a Hydro Québec crew, Town of Hudson employees, members of the parish, Hudson residents and passers-by. Because of its close proximity to the Hydro wires that pass along Main Road, Québec Hydro took on the task of removing the tree piece by piece with the aid of a crane and skilled sawyers wielding chainsaws.

With a height estimated between 60 to 70 feet and an age of possibly 100 years plus, this oak has provided home and sustenance for countless generations of squirrels, chipmunks and birds, given shelter and shade to the mourned and mourning, stood silently as children and adults climbed and descended Macaulay’s Hill and witnessed the departure and return of those who served in two world wars and other conflicts. As a producer of uncounted bushels of acorns, it is likely the prolific progenitor of a long line of descendants.

“We knew that it was going to have to come down,” said Hudson resident and member of the parish, Marcus Owen. He explained the parish was aware the condition of the tree was deteriorating and it was only a matter of time. The process began early Thursday morning with the closure of Main Road between Côte Saint Charles Road and Alstonvale Street to all but local traffic permitting the crane to set up in the middle of the road in front of the church. Once the electrical power was shut off, the cutting began.

With a great deal of dexterity, the crane operator manipulated each section of the tree up and over the power lines and laid it out on the road. Once denuded of its branches, the remaining log was hoisted into a dump truck provided by the town and deposited in the parking lot opposite the church. As of Thursday last, there was one less tree to count in Hudson.

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