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T: TREE
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
Thank 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

view from my study Oct 2012

 This is a photo of trees from my study …

33 Comments on T: TREE

  1. Yay for the tree! I still miss my old avocado tree, that formed a built-in tree house. The leaves covered the entire thing, all the way to the ground, and was very easy to climb. Loved that thing. Ah, memories. 🙂

    #atozchallenge, Kristen’s blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

    • Thanks for commenting Kristen! I did yoga the other day under a most magnificent avocado tree that sounds just like the one you describe, so I know what you mean. I had never seen such a magnificent specimen before – I was in awe of it!

  2. The squirrels here plant acorns in the ground in order to have food in the winter. But they never go back to get them all. In fact, most of those acorns hidden in the ground have a better chance of becoming oak trees than dinner for a squirrel. Maybe the squirrels can remind mankind of a way long forgotten before it became practice to consume more than what is replenished.

    • Van, how wonderful to hear from you thank you! That is such a great comment about the squirrels being so wise as to plant them where they can find them – and then NOT taking more than they require. There is a lesson in this, and in some way I would like to use this for a further post, one in fact that I am now starting to compose for tomorrow’s post. May I have your permission please? Will you let me know please?

      Thank you again, I really appreciate your stopping by.

      All best,

      Susan

  3. I remember many years ago waking up in my rented apartment to the sound of the tree outside my window being chainsawed into oblivion. I’d loved that tree, without ever knowing exactly what kind it was; every morning I’d greeted it while I made my tea; every evening I’d felt protected by its sheltering embrace. I’d written songs about it, I’d talked to it, I’d introduced my baby daughter to it, and then it was gone, and I missed it as though it had been a person.

    I’m so glad you were able to advocate for and save your oak tree.

    • Kern, thank you so much for stopping by!

      How graphically you express about the tree; I can almost feel the tree’s pain and yours. I reckon I would have felt the same had my tree been beaten down … it would have felt like murder to me in some way, with no apology for such a strong term.

      An ode to a tree – do you have your songs? I like also that your name has ‘wind’ in it – it brings to mind the sound of trees, so musical and mystical! And the wraiths that live in trees –

      Thank you again.

  4. Your oak tree will thank you for being so thoughtful. The sign is a great idea! I’m pleased the new owners will be keeping the tree and hopefully the rest of that gorgeous foliage 🙂

  5. The majesty of your tree is remarkable. I am so glad those who bought the house really bought the tree. How special are trees and you for having fostered its growth for years. It’s spirit remains on.

    • Thank you Susan. What a great way of looking at it, that ‘its spirit lives on’! I am so pleased the new purchasers evidently feel the same. I feel a lot more relaxed now …

  6. Patricia your response is so special thank you! I had not thought of it this way. Now that I think about this, after reading your comment, I can see that this is so. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. My heart is warmed indeed.
    Shalom,
    Susan

  7. Hi,
    I would have loved to see you chained to your oak tree out of protest to the new owners. They had no chance of cutting down your tree because before they walked into your house you had already made yourself its protector. That is a beautiful thought and I believe your tree felt it was going to be okay because of you.

    Of course you will miss your tree. It protected you and your family all these years and gave you so much joy. Hence, it was nice to see you give back some of the protection to the tree that the tree has given you over the years.

    I love this one. It is beautiful.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

  8. Ohhh like you, I LOVE trees. I’m so happy to hear that it will remain to protect whatever dwelling is built. I think taking some acorns from the tree to transplant in your new dwelling is an excellent idea.

    As a child I climbed trees, made homes out of the burnt out stumps, and years later hung my hammock between trees. I would lay there and enjoy the sun, read, and doze. Now I have oak trees in the gully behind where I live. It is such a serene feeling to stare into their depths. Plus, it is a place for my imagination to safely go wild. I love your posting. How soon will you be moving?

    • Thanks Gwynn! How lovely that you have a history with trees! And that they still are there nearby for you ‘to stare into their depths’. And prick your imagination – what a lovely image this brings up for me. My boys built tree houses in that Oak which we were NOT allowed to ‘visit’. Not that we really could. The cats still scamper up it and stare down at us. I just love looking at it.
      We can start moving in reality next as the people in the townhouse leave to return to the UK on Sunday. I am unsure when we actually HAVE to be out of our home but I am hoping it will not be any time soon and that we can slowly ‘move in’. Probably by mid-June.

  9. If your acorns take, consider a bonsai with at least one of them, bonsai oaks are magnificent and (in theory) generations from now, your great-great-great whatever will be tending it and telling the next generation of how you put a sign on the original tree, and selected the acorn for the bonsai. Maybe at the end of the story they’ll say ‘and if you work hard, and do well at school, maybe one day you’ll have a job where you can go back to Earth, and see if the oak is still standing’.

    • That is a great idea Elizabeth thank you. Bonsai has a certain fascination for me – they’re lovely and amazing to look at when I see them in e.g. florists or shops. I’ve occasionally seen one in a home, very much cared for. This could be my new addiction, growing and tending one with a secret message encrypted at the bottom of the pot – for Spock and his gang on the starship Enterprise ..

  10. Thank you so much Sharon! How sad about cutting down the Oak to make way for cars! O well..
    I clicked on your name above to see about you and to return the favour by responding to what you had written, but it seems as if I am not able? Are you part of the A-Z blog challenge? Maybe my computer is up to tricks – I will try again later but thank you again.

  11. I love the blog, and am so pleased your Oak tree is safe. I can’t understand people who discard them. The new owners of a Victorian property near where I live cut down the old tree on the front of their driveway to make space for more cars! I think of that beautiful tree whenever I walk past the house, and wonder..

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