This past spring, Hunt Lyman noticed that people strolling on the sidewalk outside his house on Washington Street were slowing down and peering into his lawn. “Come on in,” he would call. “You need to see the whole tree!” So many curious visitors would come down the driveway and into the lawn and marvel at the four sculptures carved into his large tree trunk: images of spring, summer, fall, and winter. “Winter is the one you can see from the road,” Hunt reports, “but fall is actually my favorite. They are all beautiful.”
The work of art that is now called the Tree of Seasons is the creation of Andrew Mallon of Winchester, a chainsaw artist who created the piece late last winter. A year ago, Hunt and Sue lost a huge limb of their 200 year old sugar maple tree in a storm, and arborists told them the tree had to go before the rest of it fell on the house. They sadly had the limbs removed, but they were reluctant to rip out the large stump that was left. That is when they had the happy inspiration to search for a chainsaw artist who could turn an ugly stump into a thing of beauty.
“I contacted Andrew and he agreed to come look at it,” Hunt reported. “He was surprised that it was a lot larger than he expected, and we talked about a number of possibilities. Then he went home and talked with his wife, and it was her idea to carve representations of the seasons. Over the next two weeks he did the work.”
“I often came back from Hill School to check on his progress, and I was so impressed with his process. He would stand and look at a section of the tree for a long time, and then he would say he could see it now, and start work. It was like Michaelangelo releasing the sculpture from the stone. I asked him how he learned to do this and he said a friend taught him to carve a bear once, but he figured out everything else by himself. I think he is a genius.”
Shortly after the opening of school in September, Hunt and Sue hosted a lawn party to celebrate Andrew’s achievement, with refreshments, lawn games, and music by The Crooked Angels. Andrew, his wife Kristin, and his toddler daughter Lyra were the guests of honor, and they enjoyed watching the guests circling the tree and admiring the sculptures. Hunt proposed a toast to the artist, saying that he appreciated Andrew’s work every day when he looked over this porch and pulled into the driveway. “Andrew took something sad and unsightly and transformed it into a beautiful work of art that brings me happiness every day.”