Vail Valley kids lose their fight to save the Magic Tree, but the magic might live on
EAGLE — The facts of life are that lifetimes end for everything and everyone — even Eagle’s Magic Tree.
For 9-year-old Reeve Mairose and her friends, the tree outside Eagle Public Library wasn’t just a lombardy poplar, it’s one of the rockets that fires their imaginations.
Despite gathering nearly 160 signatures from local children and taking their case to library officials, their Magic Tree is being cut down as part of the library’s expansion project.
The 40-year-old Magic Tree is not in the way of the library expansion, but the construction committee ruled that it’s partially dead, it’s a hazard and it’s coming down.
The library board has been planning this expansion for a decade, and lots of trees were removed to make way for the expansion and a pocket park — but they weren’t magic trees, Mairose said.
“We’ve been playing here since we were in kindergarten. We’re in fourth grade now,” she said.
The magic is real
A lombardy poplar lives around 50 years, say experts with Colorado State University. Longtime Eagle locals say this one was likely planted around the middle of the last century.
The Magic Tree is big and bushy with a couple rooms on different levels where kids have played for decades.
All living things do everything they can to keep living. Since the Magic Tree could not act on its own behalf, Mairose, Grayson Dill, Ivy Lindman, Terri-Ann Kohrmann, Hudson Wyatt and others fought for the tree where they, like generations of kids before them, climbed and played and imagined.
“It became whatever we imagined it could be,” Dill said.
So the kids donned business suits and ties and pulled petitions out of briefcases as they made one final appeal for their Magic Tree, meeting with library District Director Linda Tillson. They suggested a tip jar to raise money for the tree, constructing the building around it, planting potatoes around the roots to help it grow — their list was as big as their imaginations.
“If you had a bad day, the Magic Tree made it better,” Kohrmann said.
Tillson stopped the excavation crew digging the foundation Wednesday afternoon to give the kids a chance to say goodbye to their tree. Bathed in golden late afternoon light, they made the long walk across the rich dirt inside the construction site. They climbed inside the tree for one more magic moment.
They climbed, they laughed, they cried, they were silent for a few moments as they and their Magic Tree embraced each other one last time.
One of the adult onlookers asked, “What kind of tree is it?”
“It’s a Magic Tree,” they answered.
Finally, it was time to go. As they did, the kids cut off some sprouts and roots to plant, something one of them had seen his grandmother do.
“It’s the Magic Tree, and maybe real magic never dies,” they said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.