Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rest In Peace, Lonely Tree

In 2008, I blogged briefly about a leg of one of our road trips across the Western US and included a bit on "The Shoe Tree" in Middlegate, Nevada.
SHOE TREE!
Us, on our second visit to the Middlegate Shoe Tree, in May 2008

Ron and I discovered this roadside oddity on October 10, 2004, the day before our first wedding anniversary.  We love the geography and geology of the Western States and take off down the road every chance we get.  On that day, we were driving "The Loneliest Road in America," the portion of  Highway 50 that roughly parallels the Pony Express Trail, from Silver Springs to Ely, stretching the width of Nevada.  Located in almost the EXACT middle of nowhere, we saw an unusually large cottonwood tree that seemed to be sprouting shoes between the leaves.  The Middlegate Shoe Tree (we researched it when we returned home) stood for many decades, the last three of which were spent covered in shoes, as a perfect example of roadside Ameria.

I was saddened to hear today, in a text from Ron, that vandals cut this landmark down in the middle of the night on December 30th.  I don't know what else to say, so I will leave you with Ron's comments.
Felled Shoe Tree - photo by Alan Skinner

This was one of my favorite things from all the travels my wife and I have done on the road in America. It simply captivated everyone who drove by it–they all invariably turned, stared, stopped, and came back to look and take a photo with it. I got to see it twice–once in fall and once in the spring. I even had friends do paintings of it which are on my office wall. I guess I should feel lucky to have seen it at all….
"Shoe Tree" by Nicolas Caesar
"Shoe Tree" 16x20" acrylic on canvas
Anniversary gift from Nicolas Caesar (10/2007)
Shoe Tree by C!nder
Middlegate Shoe Tree 16x20" acrylic on Canvas by C!nder (Chris Cinder)
Commissioned for Ron's birthday in 2/2009
What purpose other than to be hateful and destructive does this serve? I’m sure these people will go on to commit other crimes against animals and children. The type of mind that conceives of taking this kind of action is the type that moves all to easily on to other acts of pure hate and destruction since they take pleasure in the pain of others.
Some will say it’s just a tree, but it meant a lot more to me as it stood tall and proud in the middle of nowhere on highway 50 providing an odd sense of joy and happiness for the thousands who had a chance to be in its presence over the past 30 years. Rest in peace, tree…

Shoe Tree
Middlegate Shoe Tree (photo by K. Sandvik - May 2008)

Shoe Tree
Middlegate Shoe Tree (photo by K. Sandvik - May 2008)

Shoe Tree
Middlegate Shoe Tree (photo by K. Sandvik - May 2008)

Shoe Tree
Middlegate Shoe Tree (photo by K. Sandvik - May 2008)