June 3, 2007

"This significant tree."

I was walking on path down by Lake Wingra yesterday, when up ahead I saw gloriously twisted oak branches:

"This significant tree"

I have a very old oak tree in my back yard. I'm looking at it as I write this, and I've been looking at it for 20 years. I've had a long and deep relationship with my tree. (It seems absurd to call it "mine" -- this thing which has lived so much longer than I have and which will almost surely live on after me.) But that the tree up ahead...

"This significant tree"

I knew it was big when mine was an acorn.

"This significant tree"

Ah, what's this little path?

"This significant tree"

It's a path to a plaque:

"This significant tree"

"This significant tree"... alive in the time of the Founders... Your humble blogger is wearing dark sunglasses, so she does not worry that some passerby might see that she is moved to tears.

16 comments:

Bo Steed said...

What a nice post.

Meade said...

No shame in tears of humility and awe.
I mean, those were not tears of Squirrel Terror, were they? You've gotten over that, right?

George said...

To see astonishing photos of trees, check out "Remarkable Trees of the World" by Thomas Parkenham and its sequel "Meetings With Remarkable Trees."

http://www.amazon.com/Remarkable-Trees-World-Thomas-Pakenham/dp/0393325296/ref=sr_1_1/002-8345365-0193629?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180893078&sr=1-1

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I like that you're so squishy on the inside. But you'll outlive that tree in cyberspace.

Revenant said...

I wonder how many of the trees around it are that old.

Maxine Weiss said...

Well, with google earth, we can all take a look....

Chip Ahoy said...

So I carved my name into it.

Ann Althouse said...

"But you'll outlive that tree in cyberspace."

But the tree just got into cyberspace.

Bissage said...

What Meade said should be said again and so I post it here: “No shame in tears of humility and awe.

We bought a McMansion in what was once the tree-line of an old farm. It was not until the builder cleared our backyard that I saw the trees we had purchased by accident.

Many had to be removed so that others might live. Many of them I removed by my own hand.

Sometimes I wept.

That’s not a boast. That’s a confession.

I’m a weak man and I know it.

I never, ever, wanted to be a man of great power.

Thanks, Meade.

Bissage said...

And thanks, Ann.

Synova said...

Last summer when I was home I visited a cemetery that had been attached to a church that had been burned by arson about 20 years ago. At the time the church was one of only a very few structures older than 100 years. (It's shocking how *recently* most of this country was settled.)

This cemetery was lovely and shaded by huge old oak trees, up on a hill with a nice view. The habit is to have a family marker and then individual stones that lay flat. I noticed one, Otto, right next to the base of one tree, with dates that put his death at 100 years ago. And then I realized by the placement that the tree had grown pretty much right out of his chest.

It was strange to imagine the tree as a sapling either being planted or left to grow. It was strange to think of such a big old tree not having always been there.

TMink said...

My daughter has a favorite tree in our front yard, a large oak. I was looking at it once and it struch me what a huge organism it is. And we cannot see all the tree either, the inside, and the beneath. The one you met was huge and grand as well. Life in the slow, but on a grand scale.

Trey

Ruth Anne Adams said...

But the tree just got into cyberspace.

Thanks to you.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Ann's Arbor, I wish again.

el jefe said...

Your twisted oaks certainly live in lush surroundings compared to ours:

http://www.elbloggotorcido.com/2006/12/winter_light.html

I like Ruth's comment. Dare to be squishy!

Meade said...

You're a good man and a strong man, Bissage.

If this tree grows well in your part of the world, I highly recommend it as a lawn, shade, and/or street tree. An excellent replacement for the disease-prone American Elm, my daughter and I planted a twelve-footer ten years ago on Fathers' Day when she was ten. The daughter just turned twenty years on Saturday and the tree, pushing thirty feet, is finally large enough to shade my sometimes world-weary eyes from an annoying streetlight whenever I sit on the front porch swing keeping close watch on manic malevolent squirrel critter would-be terrorists.

Life could be far far worse here in the heart of the heartland.