The picture on the right is one I took late yesterday afternoon. My friend Jan helped me put it on my computer last night at the meeting that we had here at my home, so my thanks go to him. It is an oak, some say alba oak (white oak), some say black oak, others have identified it as another type of oak.
I don’t know how old it is, I imagine 100 years. It is huge, in terms of its width, 23 paces.
It is outside our front door, though the picture I took is from another angle. You can see all the leaves that are being shed – autumn here in South Africa, winter fast approaching. I wrote about our imminent move from our lovely home for the ‘C’ letter, and now that day is coming closer.
The estate agent, buyer and his 2 architects came by last Friday a.m. It was a dreadful morning, cold, raining. I knew that this would be my opportunity to find out what the buyers’ plans were – to bash down the house, build townhouses? But what about the tree? This was my biggest concern.
I had a fantasy of chaining myself to the tree, when they came at 11.00, but frankly, it was too darned cold and wet. Instead, I made a huge sign on red paper and attached it to the tree just before they came; thankfully it had stopped pouring. The sign said:
I am an old oak
Please may I stay
I will protect you
I was the happiest person when assured over and over that the tree was staying and that one of the reasons Eugene and his partner bought the house was because of the Tree. They’re bashing down the house down and rebuilding it – and now that I think about it, it’s the same sort of thing we did with my husband’s late father’s townhouse, the one that we’ll be moving to.
So, The Tree: standing tall, like a sentry, guarding and protecting, its branches spreading wide, enduring weather, always regenerating, a symbol of strength.
I like the further symbolism of the Tree – ‘…its connection with the three levels of the cosmos – the Underworld through its roots burrowing deep into the soil; the Earth’s surface with their trunk and lower branches; the Heavens with their upper branches and top, reaching up to the height’.* So the connection is there with the upper and lower and in-between.
And of course, the two trees in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And Yggdrasil, in Norse Mythology is the World Tree, where the gods lived. Isis, the tree goddess..
I’ll be picking up an acorn or two to plant in a pot at the townhouse as a symbolic gesture, at Jan’s excellent suggestion.
*The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols: Jean Chevalier & Alain Gheerbrant
This is a photo of trees from my study …