“LOOK AT THAT! Airborne! Whoever thought that a tree could not fly?’’
Oswald Oakley could not contain his enthusiasm, and no one watching what he was watching that afternoon on the south end of West Palm Beach could blame him.
A massive green buttonwood — 153,000 pounds, at least 100 years old, with a canopy 40 feet high and 80 feet wide — was rising above Petty Park under the spell of a crane.
With braided branches and gnarly twisted trunks straight out of “The Hobbit,” the majestic tree was about to take a sunset cruise to a new home along the Intracoastal Waterway.
It was around 4:45 p.m. on Sept. 7 and the show behind Washington Road was just getting started.
As scores of neighbors and nervous construction crewmen watched, the big tree gently twirled above the beach, a green giant dancing in the sky, until it touched down on a flat barge, which was then ferried by tugboat 350 yards north.