Tree No. 3—It Might’ve Been, but Won’t Be, an Auburn Oak
Not two miles from Toomer’s Corner stands another live oak, another tree that traveled three hundred miles from South Carolina to its new home on the Plains. But this tree hasn’t been lauded like the ones standing where Auburn’s campus and town meet. It wasn’t showered with love on Valentine’s Day, because it wasn’t one of the new Auburn Oaks. It was the backup.
But now that a backup is needed, tree no. 3 is staying on the bench; or, actually, on West Samford Avenue. Auburn’s horticulturists who call the shots have decided that transplanting this tree again—so soon—could only mean trouble. It’s doing well where it is, in front of the 3-D Arts Studio Building near the intersection of West Samford Ave and Lem Morrison Dr. Another uprooting might condemn it to the fate of the original Magnolia Ave replacement.
That’s how bizarre the ongoing tragedy and triumph at Toomer’s Corner has become—there’s such a thing as an Auburn Oaks Original Replacement.
Tree no. 3 is part of the story; an overlooked character thus far. Its role is already in danger of being forgotten. Sure, it bears the tale-tell supports, now so familiar from its celebrity cousins—but, for how long? If this Oak remains unmarked once free standing, how quickly will its etiology become esoteric? Or, might its history take another path?
If the last few years have taught us anything, we know that Auburn people will roll other trees. Whether at Toomer’s Corner, throughout Samford Park or even next to the softball stadium, nothing arboreal is safe from celebration. What if Tree no. 3 becomes a satellite rolling destination? It might not be the only one. The current Magnolia Ave Oak may be planted elsewhere on campus as well. There could soon be two Auburn (or Toomer’s) Oaks that aren’t at Toomer’s Corner.
Regardless, we know that in 2015 we’re not allowed to roll any new Auburn Oaks. Tradition is “taking root.” So prepare to practice roll control, because there’s gonna be plenty of temptation.