Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little tree growing up

Next year, I may not be able to do what I did today.

I stopped behind Building XYZ at the local university and wrapped my fingers around the trunk of a sturdy sapling there. Thumb to thumb and index to index -- barely they touched. Burr Oak is growing up.

Already it has a healthy coat of rough bark and definitely the "wings" typical of its species, running in flanges along its branches. Ten feet high it rises now, much taller than me.

When we first met, about 15 years ago, I could hold this tree in my palm, for it was nothing but a green shoot awakening out of its acorn shell. Where it hoped to grow, it was doomed, for the mower blades would soon chop it to shreds there, beneath its great parent upon the university campus.

I scooped it up and kept it in a pot for about five years, finally bringing it thousands of miles east with me in a U-Haul truck.

For nearly ten years now, it has had a home at this beautiful college campus here in Virginia -- and if the foolishness of men doesn't intervene, it will grow massive and mighty. It was born at a university and it seemed right to give it to a university for adoption.

I try to get out there at least once a year and spend some time with my silent friend. My spirits lift each time I see that no one has accidentally sheared off its bark with a mowing machine, or marred it in malice or cut it down in the name of campus expansion.

This fall, perhaps it will have its first crop of acorns -- fat acorns in a mossy, burr cup -- thus the common name. And the cycle of life will continue.

I walked back to my car through the student union, observing a young man practicing piano there, and kids studying .. and I felt wistful and old, remembering when that was my life.


kat said...

This is so moving a piece, ecd, so lovely...please take a picture.

I have noticed seedlings of the Japanese Red Maple that is no more here, sad to say. I will make sure they are sited where they are safe.... and where they do no 'harm' themselves.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Thank You, lovely Kat. Actually, I did take a picture last year, during my last visit, and posted it somewhere on this blog.

Right now, of course, Little Burr Oak is rather bare.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Here it is, two years ago.


kat said...

Thanks... I went and looked :-) Great Tree, Great Post!

opps let me bite my tongue to ever say tree and post in the same breath!

May your sap forever flow and your graceful limbs reach on high and all your fair leaves turn their faces to the sun and sky... forevermore!
...my tree blessing

kat said...


Eastcoastdweller said...

Kat: That was a great article -- tree planting parties sound like a lot of fun and something to think about doing in my area.

Janice Thomson said...

What a wonderful post ECD - a delightful tribute to a tree.