Douglas C Smyth, Author, Gardener,

The great white oak, about 300 years old, that brought us to this piece of land.

On May 3rd, 2020, the great white oak collapsed! No wind, no rain, a beautiful sunny day, but Our Oak got too heavy on top, and too weak at his base. Result:

Quite miraculously, the Oak fell between two rows of trees and only broke off one secondary limb of a cherry tree at about the center of this picture.

He’s already made a fine outdoor meeting place, even before all the upper branches (to the left of center) are cleared away for firewood. There are huge branches for benches, and its hollow base for a shelter, bar, whatever. The boughs are more than two feet thick. We’ll leave the base and the biggest boughs as an almost encircling enclosure for our meeting place. A good place to meet friends during this pandemic.

A friend sent a New Yorker cartoon they’d seen the same day: a largish oak fallen next to its standing mates, saying: “God, it feels good to lie down!”

After 300+ years, Our Oak must have felt the same.

But he’ll still be enjoyed and celebrated, for at least another 20 years, long after I’ve gone.

I do hope I do not live anywhere near as long as my mother, Olga, about whom you’ll read more here. She lived to be 101 and 10 months, before her body, much like the Oak, just gave out. But she inspired a novel, by me.

Published by douglascsmyth

Writer, gardener, former political science and economics professor, free-lance writer, 81-years old, married to Elizabeth Cunningham, father of Darshann, Julian and Marina. I live on the western slope of the Shawangunk ridge, NY, in a house powered largely by solar and heated and cooled by it. Associated with High Valley, Clinton Corners, until 2014.

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