Kappas and the tree

Over two years ago, life-long Blacksburg resident Chris Kappas asked if I could take some photos of him and the big Sycamore tree that resided just outside his office in downtown Blacksburg. It had just been announced that the tree would be cut down come summer. The tree had been sickly for sometime, and a lot of residents had noticed that each year it was a little less robust, standing a little less strong, and never leafing out as much as the year before. Nearly 140 years old, it had become a much loved icon and institution in Blacksburg, and Chris, a town institution himself, remembers climbing its trunk and branches when it was still small enough to do so. For many of us that have grown up in this town, the Sycamore was a constant figure, always providing a hillside of shade during our humid mountain summers and adding a burst of brilliant yellow in the fall. In most of these photos, Chris stood posed, looking straight into the camera, but I was able to sneak a frame or two of him being more reflective.