Tuesday, October 19, 2010
There is a huge old oak tree in our backyard. One of our neighbors believes it to be the oldest in the neighborhood. I don't doubt it. I'd estimate it to be nearly twenty-five feet in diameter (OOPS! I mean circumference, duh--edited 10-21-10) at the base. From there three huge trunks heave upward casting a seemingly infinite number of branches into the sky. I'd show you a picture, but I simply can't get it all in one shot. It is majestic, the gnarled branches continuously curling to the mathematical beauty of the Fibonacci number.
I have almost always lived among oak trees. Growing up, in my hometown, there were a number of them you would come upon growing in the middle of the road, their lower trunks painted white. You just don't take down an oak without good reason, not even for a street. Every now and then, when I return, I will notice one is missing. It always feels like a loss.
Old oak trees are such old souls, I think. I often wonder what our backyard ancient has seen in his long years. Did Native Americans find shelter under his branches? Collect his acorns?
Once, when I was a teacher living far from my childhood home, my dad sent me a few acorns which had sprouted saplings--slender stems with pairs of leaves. Ever the science teacher, he sent them so I could show my students. I remember getting teary-eyed and choked up as I presented them to my first graders. They didn't understand the significance of the acorns having fallen from the two large oaks that anchored two sides of the backyard at my parents' house.
I could go on and on waxing melancholy over all the memories I have associated with oak trees, making me ache for other places and times...
But I have to go pick Valerie up from her Girl Scout meeting, and get there early enough so that Andrew can play at the park first.