A felled tree in Oakland's Lake Merritt neighborhood, now just a stump with a back to it like a makeshift chair, was given an inscription recently by a neighbor, drawing from the last pages of Shel Silverstein's classic children's parable The Giving Tree.
The book is of course a sweet and also depressing metaphor about the greed of children and the endless generosity of parents, which isn't necessarily a story everyone can relate to. But taken in the abstract, it's also a story about unconditional love and the passage of time, in which a tree gives of its fruit, and then its branches, and ultimately its entire trunk so that a young boy whom the tree loves can enjoy life and build a house and a boat. And when all that's left is the stump, and the boy returns as an old man, there is just one thing left to give.
'I don't need very much now,' said the boy, 'just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.' 'Well,' said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, 'well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.'
And the boy did.
CBS 5 notes that parents in the area have been bringing kids to see the newly inscribed stump, delighting those familiar with the book.