A sugar maple tree has turned into a phenomenal wood-carved sculpture depicting a Greek mythological scene, by artist Andrew Mallon.
The tree is rooted in Mary Maruca’s home on N. Park Drive, Arlington Forest, Virginia.
“The decision to create the sculpture came as I wrestled with the pain of taking down the last of the three old trees that had lived in my yard before I bought my house,” Maruca told ARLnow.
Sugar maples can live for hundreds of years, and Maruca estimates this was one was a mere 80 years old.
Days before she was going to have the tree removed, she thought about turning it into a sculpture and reached out to Mallon.
“After Andrew completed the sculpture, I also had a sense of another level of its significance — that it also made a state about times of change and what they require of us,” she said.
The beautiful creation depicts when Daphne fled from Apollo.
“Indeed, forms may change but beauty remains, and struggle is definitely part of that process.”
Apollo, the Greek god of music, poetry, art, the sun, and a great warrior, mocked the god of love, Eros, for his use of bow and arrow.
The insulted Eros then prepared two arrows: one of gold and one of lead. He shot Apollo with the gold arrow, instilling in the god a passionate love for the river nymph Daphne. He shot Daphne with the lead arrow, instilling in her a hatred for Apollo.
Having taken after Apollo’s sister, Artemis (Diana), Daphne had spurned her many potential lovers, preferring instead woodland sports and exploring the forest. Due to her identity as an “aemula Phoebes” (female rival or emulator of Artemis), she had dedicated herself to perpetual virginity.
Apollo continually followed her, begging her to stay, but Daphne nymph continued to reject him.
They were evenly matched in the race until Eros intervened, helping Apollo catch up to Daphne. Seeing that Apollo was bound to reach her, she called upon her father, the river God Peneus, and he turns her into a laurel tree.
Apollo is pretty upset and declares that he will never forget Daphne and makes the laurel his sacred tree.