But Only God Can Approve a Tree


I can’t attend Monday evening’s final public hearing on the controversial Rick Silverman tree sculpture, but based on what I’ve heard around town, I don’t think the public has actually heard everybody’s objections to the sculpture’s placement on the South Green.

Here are a few that I bet won’t come out in the hearing, but which seem to me to be worth considering:

  1. Putting this work of art on the South Green will force Public Works lawnmower operators to diverge from their historic mowing patterns.
  2. It honors artists, and the best artists in history were scorned or at least ignored. Think Van Gogh. Honoring our artists could ruin their work.
  3. It’s a sculpture of a tree. It dishonors our forefathers, who in their wisdom cut down all the trees to make the South Green in the first place.
  4. It will make Ipswich even more beautiful, and if Ipswich gets any more beautiful, people’s heads will explode.
  5. Approvals by the Board of Selectmen, the Historical Commission, and the Chief of Police are by no means enough. As a tree, this work of art should not go up at this location without the approval of the Shade Tree Beautification Committee, and possibly the Agricultural Commission. It’s a cultural artifact; was the Ipswich Cultural Council consulted? Public Works should be in there someplace too, and probably Cemeteries & Parks. And don’t forget the Shellfish Subcommittee.
  6. Every dog in Ipswich is going to want to use the most beautiful tree in town.
  7. Rick Silverman hasn’t been in Ipswich long enough to be mistreated so fleetingly. For a good deed of this magnitude, the abuse should continue at least another decade.
  8. People who live adjacent to the South Green will have to look at a work of breathtaking beauty, and some of them already have breathing problems.
  9. The sculpture will partially obscure some abutters’ views of the traffic on 1A, diminishing their enjoyment of a traditional New England pastime.
  10. A spectacular work of art donated to the Town of Ipswich can only make adjacent towns even more jealous of us, heightening our risk of vigilante vandalism by gallery owners from Essex.
  11. The tree is too small. It should be in proportion to the big dog sculpture that used to be there.
  12. People may stand around and admire the sculpture, which will be a violation of loitering laws, and we don’t have enough police officers left to meet such a law enforcement crisis.
  13. The tree sculpture may become such a tourist attraction that the U.S. Department of Transportation will reroute Interstate 95 up 1A, with an official “scenic view” rest stop at the South Green, complete with vending machines and nicely appointed bathrooms, which will cut into the Town’s historic use of Porta-Potties, thereby undermining an important sector of the North Shore economy.
  14. Sunlight glinting off the beautiful gold of the sculpture could temporarily blind drivers on County Street, forcing them to slow down and strain to see well, reducing the number of automobile accidents at County & Poplar to something less than one a week, adversely affecting our car repair and auto insurance industries.
  15. We just cut down the Old Elm Tree how long ago? It seems disrespectful to put up a fancy new tree without a proper grieving period.


Doug Brendel avoids controversy in his home on outer Linebrook. Follow him from afar by clicking “Follow.”



4 thoughts on “But Only God Can Approve a Tree

  1. Brie Wetherbee

    Hey DB, would you please write the letter I need to create today for my own beautiful neighborhood? It seems that they want to re zone our lovely nature preserve into zero-lot line housing…I need the perfect balance of sarcasm and incredulity!

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