Searching for property in 1977, the bur oak sealed the deal. Tall, wide, majestic, one limb reaching to the ground, perfect for shaded picnics as we visited our tree for 21 years before hand-building our home in its shadow. Ten years of admiring that tree, breathing its air, enjoying birdsong and rustling leaves before a major storm opened the sky to a view without our tree. Photographs, prints, poetry, drawings remind us of all those years of pleasure, ours and generations preceding.
Ode to an Oak 1840-2009
Seventeen decades of survey in oak savannah
Sapling growth competing for a corner of sky along the fringe of rich-soil farms
Towering over cattle and corn
Overseeing générations as a monumental marker along the stagecoach trail
Stretching over the years.
Lost in a rage of rain and wind, a frenzied fury of sheer destruction
Fallen safely in a cradle of trees, sparing structures that remain
In awe of your shading grace and sheltering reach,
Braving betrayal to a northern light.
An absence on the horizon that we lament on waking
and honor at sunset.