Trees that have stood for decades are being wantonly cut down in Colombo today. Being a Poya Day, there’s not much of people and traffic in Colombo, which make the task of those around Independence Avenue easy. We received a flurry of SMS messages mid-day from people who at first didn’t believe what they were seeing. The Weeping Willows down Independence Avenue, which have been around since we are told the 1970’s, are being cut down today.

View Independence Avenue in a larger map

Currently they are cutting down the trees only on one side of the road, the side the National Library and Documentation Services Board is on. Groundviews spoke to the workers cutting down the trees under the supervision of Army personnel, who were present driving tractors bearing Army insignia and giving instructions on how to cut the trees down. The workers laughed when we noted that what they were doing was a joke and defacing Colombo, noting that they were under orders which they couldn’t and didn’t question (“api kiyanade karanawa mahattaya“) They also noted that instead of the Weeping Willows, Na saplings would be planted alongside the road. Na (Mesua ferrea) is Sri Lanka’s national tree.

Groundviews also spoke with an Army supervisor present at the scene, who confirmed that Na saplings would be planted once the Weeping Willows were cut down. He noted it was all part of Colombo’s beautification scheme (“Mahattaya balannako – mewa okkoma lassanta api hadanawa. Meka are Kolamba Udyanakarana viyapruthiyata ne ayath wenne“) and that in a short time, everything would look rather spiffy.

The Army supervisor assured me that the Na, when it was fully grown, would look like a ball (“bola yak wage lassanta wa-vei”). Right now though, it looks really awful to see trees that have adorned one of Colombo’s most beautiful areas cut down for no other reason than to plant Na saplings in their place.

It does also beg the question as to just how much transparency there is around the master plan for Colombo’s urban renewal. Conducted under the Ministry of Defence and under the watchful eye of the President’s churlish brother and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, few really know what is planned. Fewer dare to ask. A lot of Colombo’s urban renewal is being done by the Armed forces, including the maintenance of parks. Along with new traffic flow patterns and the tearing down of walls to reveal facades of buildings, parks and public spaces hidden from view for decades, there is much to be celebrated in post-war Colombo’s development. What remains very disturbing is the degree to which even civil administration and planning is anchored to military minds, personnel and apparatus.

  • T

    This is so sad it makes me want to cry. I just can’t comprehend the thinking behind spending money to cut down beautiful trees to plant other trees. What is the MATTER with these people? Do they not care that there is the whole rest of Sri Lanka that still needs the most basic of services?

    • Priyanthi Fernando

      The same thing happened down Gregory’s Road – check out my blog with the pics. The same attitude also of municipal, UDA workers when I confronted them during that period. Gregory’s Road looks very orderly now, but at what price?

      I must say when the weeping willows were planted in the 1970s people were more than a little perturbed at these ‘foreign trees’ so I guess the protestors then would welcome the ‘na saplings’ being planted. Ironically, I walked early this morning past independence avenue, and thought how well the avenue looked with the weeping willows framing the road to Independence Square.

      Agree fully with your post re the transparency around Colombo’s renewal, and the colossal waste of money!! But if this can be done here, without a murmur of protest, then I guess it bulldozers will prevail elsewhere as well!

      • hiran dias

        It certainly is sad to see trees being cut down. How we blame the sudhas for cutting down our forests to plant tea and rubber! But think of our country without the income and employment we gained / gain from tea and rubber….. the railways, roads, free education, free health, restoration of ancient tanks and irrigation…. and so on and on. Where would I be if that “terrible destruction” did not happen? Would I have this computer and ability to use this? Would we have been happier in our villages as the villagers of today who are trying to get out of them? At least we would not be complaining about the tree-lined city of Colombo.

        Think again

  • Renu

    …. Learship training for Higher Education Ministry….
    …. Tree transfer for Environment Agency …..

    This is a ”democracy” run by the Defence Ministry.

  • yapa

    Can anybody have both egg and the omelet?

    Are we seeing what we want through dark green glasses? I am not sure.

    Is everything wrong just because they are done by the Ministry of Defence?


    • sambar


      It is very easy to have both eggs and omelette.

      Just make the omelette with some of the eggs and keep the rest.

      So if you buy say a dozen eggs, you can for example make an omelette with 4, fry 2, boil 2, scramble 2 and still have 2 eggs left.

    • since ‘your not sure’ – lets just leave it at that shall we?!

    • yapa, pls see comment at the bottom – addressed to yapa.

    • Yapa:
      it’s very nice for us to keep telling everyone to ‘think positive’ or say ‘dont be soo negative’ or ‘look at the silver lining..’ – it’s this sort of crap that allows the largely corrupt cronies rob us and our children’s generation of any sort of decent future.

      As a sinhalese, i am pretty sure that very few of us will ever get on the road and get beaten or shot at like what has happened in Tunis, Egypt or now in syria – these morons in parliament know this too well. and hence they get away with all of this crap!

      Often i think to me self how ashamed of this I ought to be – just penning something on a blog/website is perhaps .1% of what we really could/should do to have any sort of impact. However, sanity and rationale must prevail – most have families who would rather not have us taken away in pink vans. Which only goes to show how brave guys like lasantha and others who’ve paid the ultimate price really are!
      In the case of the great General, you could say ‘what goes around, comes around’ but for lasantha – there was really none of that.

      [Edited out.]

  • Namal

    Its really sad that they cutdown the trees standing for long time ther. I think the authorities trying to feed nationalist feeling by planting our national tree, also it has to do something with buddhism, hope our people will not place sacred buddas statues next to the trees and dis-respect loard budda.

    • sambar

      I blame the Sinhala-Buddhist extremist thinking for this nonsense!

  • N

    Cool…so the people who have to walk down that road can burn in the sun for the next 30 years until the Na trees get as tall as the current weeping willows. Funny how they are so intent on keeping everything native but have no issues destroying Somawathie National Park to plant bananas. Well done Gota, very smart work.

    • Rasavath

      N… u make a good point! Y plant the National tree for Colombo people to be hoodwinked with National flavour when National Parks are being destroyed with public roads being constructed through them, hotels being planned within NP’s, Casinos being given approval, Wild elephants being captured in violation of the laws for temples (un Buddhistic to enslave animals!) ….. Let us not talk of the fate of journalist. I wonder if the magnificent Mara trees down Bauddhaloka will be next right outside the Defence Secretary’s nose?? Judgement will come on ‘the day of judgement…….. nothing lasts forever not even power!

  • sambar

    The thinking behind all this is obvious (albeit logically suspect):

    “the next Buddha (mithriya) will attain enlightenment under a NA tree”

    So perhaps:
    this next Buddha having noticed all those Na trees will be born as a Sri Lankan,
    if he is born outside Lanka he might be attracted the Na trees to fulfill his destiny.

    Either way the hope is obviously that this next Buddha should reach enlightenment in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

    Imagine the huge potential for tourism if that did happen!

  • Y

    I think the Na Tree and the buddhist flag flying at Independence Sq are fair indications of the trend …..

  • Jayathilaka

    Cutting down the beautiful trees at the independance square is a sad thing, i always loved the sceneary scince i was a kid. However Namal’s and sambar’s analysis are quite hilarious. Na tree is the national tree it doesnt represent any buddhist sentiment. It is said even trees like Rukattana had been a bodhi tree accoring to buddhism. But no buddhist gives any significance to rukattana and same goes for na tree. [Edited out]

    • Namal

      Jayathilaka, lets wait and see…..

    • sambar


      There’s a crucial difference: the Na tree is the tree of the FUTURE Buddha!!

      The present socio-political climate of Sri Lanka is ideally suited to the cultivation of Na trees and the proliferation of Buddhist flags (and other such Sinhala-Buddhist symbolism).

  • Pol Baa Moona

    I have been observing the developments around independence square for some time. Pruning a few trees here and there is fine, especially if some replanting is taking place.

    Cutting down a whole avenue of perfectly healthy trees is madness.

  • The cavalier way the supposed beautification is done, is without any consultation, and therefore it is just the ideas of a few of the inner circle who think they know town planning!! We will come to regret some of the decisions later on when the suspects of the initial operation are history.

    There are positives and negatives of what has been done, and it is impossible to complain as the authorization does not involve consultation. Just a case of carrying out military orders.

    We can only live in hope that the Colombians have a say in their future and not foreigners! a certain US citizen of ill repute!!

  • Kumar

    Colombo is certainly looking nice these days but cutting down these magnificent trees is an absolute crime

  • Luxmy

    Where is the Environment Agency?
    What is truly going on after the war in the North Sri Lanka? ‘LeN expose’ after the tour, 16 March 2011:
    ‘The Govt. under the pretext of development of the north is transporting the trees , earth and sand via the Army to the south . If anybody opposes this action of the Govt., he is either murdered or is abducted by the white Van, they added.’’

  • The war has now been won @ a huge loss of human lives on both sides. That is done. If we continue to go ahead disregarding the secular constitution and dictatorial attitude- history will no doubt repeat itself. I maybe massaging the gota’s ego by using the term ‘dictatorial’ -but its sad. They say the defense secy. is an american citizen- perhaps we can root-ball some nice tree’s out of the US and bring it down, if the objective is to make this city look similar to wherever he was. When nobodies become somebodies- these are to be expected. What goes around, also comes around – up until then, the rest of us, who are not making big-bucks off of the corrupt regime, would have to grin and bare?!

    Some of the clearing up is good work- eg. the cinnamon gdns. cop shed is looking fab. The idea is to not get too carried away. I’ve also been told that the CH wall had been broken down, not on the instructions of the gota but by one upstart committee member wanting to score brownie points with the gota. Such is the situ today. There is a [Muslim] architect of sorts giving guidance to the gota- he should share with us the master plan for developing colombo, get our views on this and then we can move swiftly along.

    As someone pointed out – the massive flag at the square and the Na trees to boot, just seem to be an idea right out of merve-the-perve’s book, something typically popular to please the masses. Do they not understand that there are also quite a few sinhala-buddhist who walk down/around the square- who will, up until the Na tree’s grow up, be as physically and intellectually uncomfortable as those minorities they care not about…

    Finally, up until the gota opts to go back to greener pastures he once chose over SL, perhaps he could focus on trying to eradicate the drug menace and the so called ‘underworld’ – again, with some sort of transparency and accountability. Else what happens is those of us who even post comments up here, could very well ‘disappear’ in Pink vans, again in the name of cleaning up crime/journalists?!

    Long live the king!

  • m

    We deal with a regime that sees very little economic value in wildlife/nature. They see very little money to be made in nature, unlike a concrete building which they can earn lots of dollars.

  • Ananda Diaz

    Why chop up such a beautiful tree ??

    I guess, the Rajapaksa malaise of mismanagement afflicts all districts of Sri Lanka, even Colombo

    We are ruled by the the junta, kudu mudalalis and mindless thugs.

    The ruling family, their relatives and friends are the chief beneficiaries of Govt.

    Other parasites make hay while the sun shines.

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    These activities by the Rajapakshas ( I purposefully ommitted the word government as this is nothing to do with other helpless lackeys, who called themselves the rest of the members of the government.), which goes without a iota of protest by the Sinhalese Buddhist Majority, shows how they baboozled the general public into beleiving in them in whatever the things they do.

    Patrotism is a cover for all the misdeeds they do! Who is going to question them after all they are the ones who rescued the Sinhala Buddhist Country from the Tigers.

    Let them destroy the trees, national parks, sell the lands in Colombo to foreigners, evict the poor from Colombo, grab the north/east lands, capture the eliphents, releasse criminals from the prisons, pardon the murderers, decide not to prosecute the politicians, cancel the dual citizenship banning the tamil expatriate from coming back to Sri Lanka, import low quality patrol, kill FTZ workers, let their politicians to play hell, assault and intimidate the media etc.

    Because everything is done for the Country!

    • Jayathilaka

      @pitasthara puthraya,

      I too accept that our general public have been utterly stupid and naive when it comes to resisting any misdeed by the government. The CBK for more than 10 years looted the country, and now it is the rajapakses. They steal from public, pardon murderers in their party and do anything they want. There deeds can land this country in extreme trouble. There is no doubt about it.

      Another thing is the claim that this gov protects the sinhala buddhists and that they view them as guardian angels of sinhala buddhism is an outright lie. Mervyn Silva who assualted two buddhist bikkhus in parliment is given a minister post and protected by the gov, the other culprit Jeewan Kumarathunga is the same. After SF was arrested the mahanayakes criticised it and what happened to them? political thugs were sent to the maligawa and threatened the bikkhus shutting their mouths forever. This gov is playing a different game using buddhism and buddha statues. They plant buddha statues all over the country (not just in N&E) but silence any monk who disagree with them.
      Our people do not resist to anything. I have never met anybody who praise or talk in favor of the 2016 common wealth games bid, they consider this as a gamble.But everybody criticise this in private but make no move against it.

      why dont they resist it? Because they dont know how to do it. They very well know if they hit the streets the results could be dangerous. And most importantly the ones who should talk about it or do someting are evading their responsibility. The persons who understand the situation just write it in a blog or criticise it in the web in English, and never go any step further. So what about the general public?

      • sambar


        You are absolutely right neither this Rajapakse government nor previous governments have ever been interested in truly protecting the Sinhalese or Buddhism.

        Rather they use the symbols of Buddhism to create a false impression among the Sinhala folk in order gain political support (but in fact abuse Buddhism).
        It is this self-seeking dishonest attitude that I refer to as “Sinhala-Buddhism”, which is falsely used to try to gain political support from the majority Sinhala folk who are also Buddhists.

        Unfortunately some politically minded Buddhist clergy also do the same as the politicians.

  • Magerata

    I wish they had actually planted “NA” trees before cutting down the existing trees. I guess independence from Nationalism is greatly needed as this practice seem to extend beyond just trees. (Once one start to masturbate to nationalism, I guess it is hard to stop, just like in real life 🙂

  • Ethirveerasingam

    Cutting down trees should not be taken lightly even if another tree is to be planted. There need to be consultation with environment protection groups and universities that have specialists. There are criteria in selecting trees for roadsides.
    In the North GSL has identified 170,000 houses were totally destroyed in the last war. An equal number or more are partially destroyed. GSL also permits two trees to be cut down per house. That is 340,000 trees. This does not include the countless number of Teak trees planted and taken care of during the last 20 years that were cut down and transported to the Soutsince 2009 by the authorities or their nominees.

    Permits to cut two trees per house is given by the authorities to carpenters from the South. Trees are also cut without permits by those who have limited permits. Those are also transported to the South without proper accountability.

    The reason given for not giving permits to Tamil Carpenters in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi is that they do not have the power equipment to cut the trees or saw the trees to planks and timber!!!

    In addition, countless number of trees are cut down to establish roads where there were foot paths from the A9 and Secondary roads to have access and establish numerous Brigade and Divisional Army bases that are no longer necessary for the civil government to function. Where those trees end up is only the Defence Secretary can answer.

    For those who love trees, the BBC website gives us a new perspective.

    It confirm the finding, by experiment, by the Indian Scientist Bose (I think), in the forties, that plants react to trauma when injured. I guess That is why they make their roots and leaves poisonous to animals and humans, and grow thorns.

  • akasha

    You do realize some of those trees have bad root systems and when it rains, its those same trees that topple down and squash people’s houses, cars that are parked on the street etc. I, for one, hate to see trees cut down but if another one is planted in its place that won’t topple down – then isn’t beauty preserved?

    • In 30+ years, when has a Weeping Willow fallen on a car, on a house or on Independence Avenue?

    • sambar


      Since falling trees seem to be your main worry, would you prefer an extremely dense and heavy Na tree or a light willow tree to fall on you?

      (And just a bit of info: willow trees are very hardy and have very extensive tough root systems, which, apart from their aesthetic appeal, was probably among the reasons they were then chosen.)

  • sabbe laban

    The reason is we are following the great Idi Amin!

  • Against Fraud

    On the other hand is everything RIGHT because it is done by the Ministry of Defence? Or is this city planning a la 7 Eleven?

  • Manel Fonseka

    Perhaps this is an example of the promised “TITIVATION” (!) of Colombo (see Steve Morell in Sunday Island 14 Aug reporting the UDA chairman). The willows may no longer be there to weep, but surely we and the heavens will.

  • yapa

    According to my opinion “Weeping Willow” is an ineffective tree in terms of providing shade to pedestrians and to vehicles. Weeping Willow tree grows vertically and have no branches. A tree is like a closed umbrella and do not give a large shadow. It doesn’t cover even a bit of the road from the sun.

    Compare the “Mara” trees along Bauddhaloka Mawata or Thurstan road, vehicles go inside a shady tunnel created by the tree branches. You can see the road between parliament and Koswatta, two lines of a new variety of trees grown sides of the road give a perfect shade to vehicles and to pedestrians. Therefore the argument that weeping willows give shade to independence avenue is a baseless story.

    On the other hand no any other use as timber, does not give flowers or useful fruits. Other than its unusual shape, I don’t see any value of them, compared to any other tree that can be planted along the road sides. Compared to weeping willows Na tree is much better and useful.

    On the other hand, all above arguments, speculations, writing are based on unreliable information said to have revealed by a soldier that Na trees would be planted there. Has anybody tried to verify the information from some reliable source? If the soldier fabricated an instant story to have some fun?

    I don’t understand why many people see “Rajapaksha Brothers” even on willow trees? Not sure whether they consider Rajapakshas as “Tree Gods” elevating them to god status.

    Any point for speculations and imaginations are good, when it could be used as a point to find fault with Rajapakshas. I think the white national suit of Rajapakshas are black for them.

    I think people should learn to see silver linings in dark clouds as well. They should not try to paint every cloud with black as they have seen a big dark cloud yesterday. The cloud is not totally black, when seen through the black of mind it never is white. We must try to see things as it is, not our interpretations of of them. Human mind is a wonderful tool. It can turn white into black, if it wants.


    • yapa

      Small addition……….

      [Human mind is a wonderful tool. It can turn white into black, if it wants.] It can create a crocodile or a storm in your cup of tea.:)


    • @Yapa,

      There is no use preaching to the converted. I applaud your conversion to the Mhinda Chinthanaya…the more the merrier…

      • yapa

        Dear PresiDunce Bean:

        There is no applause for Mahinda Chinthanya, I am not a Rajapaksha fan or a supporter. However, it does not suggest we should criticize every act of Rajapakshas. Many have been misled with the “Easy Chinthanaya” that anything opposite to “Mahainda Chinthanya” is a “Good Chinthanaya”. What I wanted to point out was that it is not so.

        People of this country should be able to develop an unbiased and brave thinking if want to move forward, not an imitation of emotionally comfortable popular thinking.


      • PitastharaPuthraya


        We do not understand your point. What you say is that people oppose the actions of Rajapakshas because it is the new ‘style’ in the town and not because they are wrong. No! that is not correct people oppose them becasue they are wrong.

        Majority of the people, who oppose the way Rajapakshas act, does it because they do not like their authoritarian style of doing things. See how they have uprooted the willows. Was there any discussion about it before? No. one morning the army arrived at the scene and did what they were told to do. Is it the job of the Ministry of Defence to decide what type of trees should grow in Colombo? Or is it the job of the CMC? Don’t the people, who pay taxes to CMC and live in Colombo, have a say in these type of things? Don’t the coucillors have a right to discuss these matters in CMC?

      • yapa

        Dear PitastharaPuthraya;

        Are you sure the CMC didn’t discuss this? Do you know whether this was done with the CMC’s approval or with the concurrence of it? If it is so do you say the removal of the willows are correct? Do you agree with my argument that willow is not an effective tree to give shelter to a road, for the vehicles going along it and for the pedestrians? Do you agree that it has no any other advantage as timber, fruits etc. etc.?

        If this is the situation is there anybody make a big fuss, on removing them for re-planting of more effective trees, if they are not acting with pre-conceived bias?

        Don’t you think this is an unnecessary pandemonium, created without not knowing information/facts?


    • sambar


      Another small addition:

      The Human mind is a wonderful tool: It can imagine that black is white and wrong is right … if it wants to; but it can also insist that right is right and wrong is wrong, good is goo and bad is bad … if it wants to!

    • sambar

      Dear Yapa,

      You say Na tress are more useful.

      Another addition:

      But not in Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka where the Na trees are protected from use!

      • yapa

        Dear sambar;

        I am not sure about what you say. I haven’t heard of any such restriction to use Na trees from the side of Buddhists. I know Bo trees aren’t used by Buddhists and it is not usable as timber as well.

        Even without the use of timber Na tree is still better than Willow trees. It gives a better shelter and gives beautiful flowers to decorate the environment. Na dalu(tender leaves) are similar to the lips of ladies, poets say, isn’t this a good reason for you to change your attitude and love Na trees?

        [Edited out.]

      • sambar

        Dear Yapa,

        Again I would like to alert you to the saying ‘kohede yanne? malle pol’.

        No one here is expressing any liking or disliking for Na trees: that is NOT what the article is about!

        The matter under discussion is about the stupidity of cutting down some beatiful well established willow trees in order to pander to the sadly misled Sinhala-Buddhists.

        I too think the Na tree is a really nice tree and would fully support planting them in suitable places, without to destroy other nice trees.

        There is an analogy about the communal problems of Lanka:
        Why do the Sinhala-Buddhist think that they need to destroy and hurt the Tamils for them [the Sinhala-Buddhists] to come up?

  • mapa

    Another good example of Mahinda [edited out] Chinthana. Cutting down trees to grow trees. They may think it may grow in few weeks. And thats the only beauty left in Colombo the hellhole of the country! And building hotels in and around few forest reserves left in the country apart from developing roads.That’s the only development these stupids knows.And army being used to everything from demolishing houses to cut trees and transport luxury cars of presidents siblings.

  • PitastharaPuthraya


    I agree Na is a better tree than a weeping willow. And it is only second in veneration to the Bo tree for the buddhists as , according to the Buddhist belief, the next buddha, Maitriya Bodhisatva’ would attain enlightment under a Na tree.

    I also agree that we always look at everything with suspicion.

    Therefore, we hope that at least within 20 years time we would be able to see Independece Av planked by Na trees with tender red leaves dancing in the wind reminding us of ‘pouting red lips of young women’. Only negative thing is we would be too old to appreciate the beauty of that.

    • yapa

      Dear PitastharaPuthraya;

      “Therefore, we hope that at least within 20 years time we would be able to see Independece Av planked by Na trees with tender red leaves dancing in the wind reminding us of ‘pouting red lips of young women’. Only negative thing is we would be too old to appreciate the beauty of that.”

      Nothing like trying. Let’s keep on trying.


  • yapa

    Dear PitastharaPuthraya;

    “I agree Na is a better tree than a weeping willow. And it is only second in veneration to the Bo tree for the buddhists as…..”

    I don’t think Na tree was that much venerated to Buddhists, I think Buddhists consider “Nuga” tree a bit venerated next to Bo tree. As a Buddhist even I didn’t have the knowledge that Maithree Buddha is supposed to be enlightened under a Na tree. I think Na tree became a bit prominent among Sri Lankans after it was chosen as the National Tree, not because of the so called alleged affiliation to Buddhism. On the other hand I don’t think there was a religious motive behind the alleged planting campaign of Na trees along the independence avenue, rather than a nationalistic move(if any).

    Free imaginations, speculations and fantasizing are good instruments that have produced marvelous things to the world. We may not have Shakespeare if those instruments were not properly utilized by the individual hiding behind that name. Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” was a result of his unimaginable imaginations and his speculations.

    However, it should be noted that they are not good instruments for every occasion, they may be counter productive and harmful. Not only the instrument is important, the individual who handles it is important as well. Otherwise, it will not be different from giving a razor blade to a monkey, it cuts and get cut everywhere and everything.


  • georgethebushpig

    While we debate the merits and demerits of cutting down the weeping willows and the pros and cons of Na over WWs take a look at this article…. according to the Lakbima news thousands of acres are being felled in the Somawathi National Park for a Dole corporation banana plantation!

    The person who informed me of this issue sent me this message as well (which I followed and have a report key for follow up on 26 Aug):

    “We can lodge a report with DOLE, and maybe if there are sufficient numbers protesting, they may stop it themselves. It’s easy to do. Call their Integrity Hotline on 2430430 (local call) wait for the prompt and then call 888-236-7527 [This is a toll free number]. You get a very polite young person, with whom you can then lodge a complaint. I merely wanted DOLE to verify the report. You are asked to create a passcode, and they give you a report key – both numbers are necessary for you to follow up the report with another call in 2-3 days time. Worth doing. It will only take a few minutes of your time.

    For all those not in Sri Lanka have local numbers you can dial as well. For these you will have to go to or see the attached

    Please tell your friends…”

  • Nadeesha Rathnayake

    I actually cried when I saw this crime. I used to love this area of colombo… why did they have to do that? 🙁 is this beautification or turning the country in to a some dried up pit?