Bard in the Quad is a Corvallis summer tradition for us. Above you can almost make out Will Shakespeare himself, strolling down the steps of the student union to announce the beginning of this year’s production, Taming of the Shrew. We felt a bit low-tech with our vintage webbed lawn chairs in a sea of folks reclining in what amounted to folding canvas Barcaloungers with built in ice buckets and champagne flutes… As always with a Shakespeare play, I came away wishing I had made time to re-read the Cliff Notes before I went so I would have a better grasp on the innuendo. It was a nice little romp even so, although chilly by any summer standards.
The students returning in a few weeks to campus are in for a slight shock as they cross the quad – two giant trees are gone without a trace. One, a monstrous oak, just collapsed in the middle of the day two weeks ago. That prompted a closer look at all of the trees nearby, and another one was apparently infected with the same invisible disease. It’s gone too, not even a sliver of a stump left, just a little bare patch with grass seed marking the spot. Can’t have rotten limbs mashing students, I know. But I mourn for all the dying trees in this town (and there are lots, especially white bark birches), and the ones being ripped down for road repairs and new townhouses, and it takes so long to replace their quiet beneficent presence.