Bur Oak

 

Sorry I haven’t been too responsive lately. Things have gotten busy!

 


 

Today two friends and I cycled out to the Bur Oak

Locally celebrated as the oldest tree around.

We rested in its shade

Picnicked

Painted.

A frail old man with a cane arrived

Guided by a woman and a little boy.

It was evident his family adored him.

They spoke eagerly about what to show him next.

The old man saw my friend painting and was pleased.

He had gone to art school.

He was very honorable, soft spoken, knowledgeable and kind.

After they left,

Three carfuls of Chinese students showed up.

Amidst the clamor one of them said, without irony,

“It’s so peaceful!”

We got to talking.

Before we knew it

A beautiful slight thirty something woman

Was leading us all in a Tai Chi exercise.

She taught us Chinese words as we followed her movements.

Four motorcyclists arrived

In matching Harley Davidson jackets.

They found a spot amongst the roots

And made brash, cheerful gossip.

 

Of these very different people

Every one was here to see the tree.

Some casually leaned against it.

Some circled it.

Some squealed for a picture with it.

Some hugged it.

Some climbed among its roots.

Some solemnly sat and revered it.

 

How many people

Has this tree seen come and go?

What does time even mean

To something so ancient?

For most of its life

It had little significance

Growing up among peers.

Time passed

And all the trees around it fell.

Why did it remain standing?

A farmer’s passing fancy?

A fluke?

Or did it have value even then to someone

Beyond all other trees?

 

Now it takes our human adoration

Our traffic

Our abuse

All our attentions, for better or worse

And still it stands

Breathes

Drinks

Takes sun

Makes acorns

Towers.

 

Trees know something we don’t know.

We play at their ankles like children

Drawn to what they have

But never understanding why.

 

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