I am a live oak tree and I am very old. I have seen spring return more than a thousand times. I can remember hundreds of hurricanes, most I’d rather forget, but I withstood. There was a big fire once. I hate fire.Around me are my offspring. We are an old-dune woodland community. We provide shelter and acorns for squirrels, jays, raccoon, bobwhite, deer, javelin and most other members of our community. For most of my life I belonged only to myself. Now belong to you, racks, or so I’m told. Humpf! Branch breakers and root tramplers the lot of you.
Some years ago someone came and patched my cracks, trimmed my dead branches, killed my pest and healed my fungus rots. Was that you? I’m feeling much better, thank you. I’m tired now. You may leave me in peace when you are ready to go. Please leave my home as you found it. I have important things to do. The seasons are changing again and I must get ready.
I have gathered sun and rain to grow green leaves
Swaying softly in the spring, rustling like applause in fall.
My limbs have shaded generations;
My roots have reached for centuries;
My children and their children’s children surround me,
Here in this peaceful part of my land.
Golden sunlight diamonds have glinted on the ground around me
Cold fingers of ice have touched my heartwood.
Dust-dry days of sandstorms have scoured my skin
Torrents of rain, driven by gales have rushed at me,
And I have swayed, but stayed unbroken.
Silver moonlight has kept me company many a night
Yet through all the seasons, sorrows, bitterness and beauty
All of the history I have withstood and witnessed,
There has been one thing I could not do.
I could not grow green dollars, or silver or gold.
Will you help me, standing here before me?
Then we may both grow old, together,
As old friends should.
One of flesh, one of wood.
By Mary Hoekst
Update: 10 April 2020