So silently the brown thorn adorned branch from the old oak tree from whence it had fallen waited for the anticipated arrival of your footsteps. Within a blink, your toe stubs itself on this same branch. It begins to throb it begins to swell as it turns purple. The branch stays hidden in the background though not refraining from snickering, seething, sneering, and smiling from what it had done. Time marches with you as the swelling subsides exactly when it was supposed to. Those thorns that branch, that tree, your toe intertwined interwoven inconspicuously. No curiosity from the bushy-tailed gray squirrel holding its walnut while casting a solitary glance down at you as it rests comfortably on its favorite branch.
The magnificent old oak tree was a fortress in which birds could plant their nests as they built their own family while being shielded from the harshness of heartless inhumanity who lust after this special tree that has all the earmarks of big profit potential. NO! The leaves must turn green every Spring while wildflowers grow, dispensing a pageantry of color as if it were pleading “come look at me.” I am the old but surreal strong Oak tree.
Undaunted by the relentless whirring as branch after branch and limb after limb the Old Oak tree is cut down it continues to stand mightily in the place it had always been and will forever more be. The legend has it that these branches led the good, the kind, and the righteous up to heaven after their souls separated from their temporary residence where the creator of the world anxiously anticipated their arrival. When it was confirmed these weary bodiless souls had more that had to be done down below the oak tree reached up cradling them in its bosom to reunite them with their physical forms. The worldly-wise oak tree had performed this ritual from the time it was first needed by man.
Ring-a-round the Rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down.
Our lives run along with the time we spend in it are in unison with that Oak Tree. Our roots entrench themselves into the ground nourished by the morning dew along with rain that falls from the skies above.
When the cheerful innocent eyed children played their game of encircling each other they hugged as they pranced around the old oak tree while simultaneously falling down to each other’s delight. If you looked up at the silence you would be visually captivated by an image of the highest branch dancing around its own branches mimicking the children it so dearly loved. In the still of the night when the brightest star was shining a voice that seemingly originated from nowhere crooned its own version of famous children’s nursery rhyme. And if you closed your eyes real tight (no peeking) slowly shuttering open your eyes you will incredulously see the tree was in the only spot that it has ever wanted to live. And so it has lived just as it has given life.
Our lives run along with the time we spend in it are in unison with that Oak Tree. Our roots entrench themselves into the ground nourished by the morning dew along with rain that falls from the skies above. Our branches spread out as do the wings of a bird. Each branch we build with each leaf that grows upon it that gives shelter to our birds signifies our physical growth along with our knowledge of the ways of the world.
“Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, ” “Hello in there, hello”
The old big black crow who has seen it all while knowing all caws his medley of symphonic songs as he zeroes in for a landing on the old oak tree. For sure he has been there before. For sure he too has called that tree home. A crow though he may be called but being a big bodied bird they also know him as the feared raven. His feathers may be shaggy but never are they unceasingly sloppy. The raven stalks its prey with one swoop his deed is done. The raven with its finely chiseled beak slanted sinister eyes has reduced many a pair of legs into quivering masses of wasted flesh. Quoth the raven nevermore-Edgar Allan Poe. Old crow watching from a tree
Old crow watching from a tree.
He’s got his hungry eye on me
In my garden, I’m as free
As that feathered thief up there-Garden
~Song By Pete Seeger
That Old Oak Tree is symbolic of the umbrella we hang over our families to protect them from pillage just before the deluge. Each new branch brought along with it a new family ready to expunge itself to enter the world knowns as humanity is not humane to humans.
My children, your children, our grandchildren made tree houses way atop. They climbed in while avoiding the call to come down. There was safety inside those wooden walls partially constructed from wood that was unceremoniously cut from another tree that did not have to die. No, not for this.
The sight of the willow tree swaying back and forth while in accompaniment with its partner the Old Oak Tree. From where we get life from where we leave or embark on our painfully slow journey upwards and upwards still. Be it doom or be it gloom the secrets of which are bound in the tree never to be released.
This tree may stand alone but it is never alone for it invites and provides for all that need. A mere mortal man only sees an old oak tree but nature sees it as it really is. A lonely wooden tower that spends higher and wider than anybody can see. The brightly burning yellow sun is blotted out by branches that cluster together to keep the light all for their own.
While in the midst of a snow-white winter the old oak tree does not shudder nor shiver. The soft fallen snow may weigh down its branches but only low enough for it to reach the earth to write its message of disdain for all that do not respect it. Adding intrigue is the question of what is being hidden under all of those layers of snow that neatly blanket parts of the tree but not its bark hardened by time and seasons of doom and gloom.
The seasons that surrounded this tree were many. Somewhere mild and gentile while others lashed the tree with hurricane force wind while water is hurled right at the heart of the tree. Those winds blew through our thin bones while that magnificent majestic tree stood tall and mighty. We must live our lives standing tall and mighty.
New flinch never fear. Don’t bow down to false fabricated idols that were created to serve only those whose minds not yet molded. The tricks our dearly beloved parents taught us a lesson that tricks are only such that they play on you.
Fly birds fly. Fly the hawk. Fly the owl. Fly the hummingbird. Fly the raven. The pretty parakeet that lived amongst other parakeets that were ripped from their homes, their families only to die alone in thin metal wired cage. Fly the parrot before he is put on display like a painting in a museum. Taunted and tormented each of the most minute minutes until his spirit is broken.
Soar with your soul. Fly to where you never flew before minus the mighty machines that permeate while polluting the air we breathe. Go take your children. Take every branch that makes up your tree. Take them to a place where trees, families, and nature lives as one. Join in the love for the aromas of the flowers that smell so sweet while holding the key to treasures that are not what they seem to be.
Who are we?, Where are we, How did we get here? Where do we go from here, What awaits us on the other side of the velvet curtain we conjured up in our minds. As can a split from a direct precision strike cut through a tree or a bush like a knife through a yellow spotted banana.
We are, we are, we exist! We are the tree! Apples, pears, plums may entice us but they will never be removed from an overstuffed plastic bag that may find its way into the ocean once so blue. Our legacy must not be one where all that was good and did good was no longer good.
This piece was about children, growing up, the beauty of nature and of course our own questioning of ourselves. It was about life or life as we think we know it.