The Senator, fifth oldest tree on earth, burns naturally

Like the passing of a very, very old uncle after he'd been telling you he didn't have one whole heck of a lot of time left on this earth for so very, very long, the fifth oldest tree on the planet burned from the inside this week, falling not to any sort of arson on the part of a human body, but mother nature herself, deciding it was just time for The Senator to go. This titanically gigantic piece of forest was known as "The Big Tree" or, again, The Senator, and is survived by his wife, "Lady Liberty," a 2,000-year old tree in the same Longwood, Florida park. Though we rarely report on non-gadget news here at SlashGear, there comes a time when we must appreciate how the whole world can connect and respect one of the world's oldest natural living things, all together because of the web we've created. What a lovely thing.

The Senator was more than 3,500 years old when he passed. The bald cypress' death and collapse happened after its hollowed-out center was affected by a "curious confluence of natural events." These events may very well, they said, have been started several weeks ago when a lightening strike hit, it then smoldering until combustion occurred only this week. Another idea is that friction caused by buffeting winds made a tiny spark which then erupted into the flames that swallowed our old friend.

This tree was older than Egypt's Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV,) pre-dated the Trojan War, and popped up right at about the time the Bible says Moses was speaking to the burning bush. Now Longwood's number 1 attraction is no more. All things must pass, and this market that pre-American residents used as a compass, Calvin Coolidge dedicated a bronze plaque to, and Senator Moses Oscar Overstreet donated 11 surrounding acres to the state as parkland for in 1927, is now collapsed. We hope everyone who got the chance to see this 18-foot wide beast remembers him well!

[via The Daily, image from Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT]