So an email came out over our community listserve that there was a big tree down blocking one of the paths behind the pump house. I was feeling a little frisky today and decided to go check it out. I packed the handsaw just in case, and my field notebook that I finished at the OBOD camp.
On the way across the parking lot, a bluejay was flitting along the tree line. The hike in seemed pretty long, even though I know for a fact it wasn’t that far. After a wrong turn and a re-tracing of my steps, I found the blocked path.
And it was a frickin’ oak. A motherloving red oak!
It took me about an hour to get the staff cut. I had to keep coming in at different angles since my saw really isn’t mean for anything more than a half inch in diameter, and this branch was at least an inch more than that. And, by the time I finished, I think I donated at least a quarter cup of blood to the local mosquito population.
Holding the staff at last, I felt an immediate connection to it, so strong that it brought tears to my eyes. I really mourned the loss of this tree. I could see that it was completely hollow with rot, and that some animals or birds had been making their homes inside it. I went to go find the stump, but nothing I came across quite fit. I went back and started really looking at the way the tree fell and realized there wasn’t a stump because what looked like a whole tree was actually just the upper branches of a venerable giant standing right next to the path.
I placed my hands on his bark, telling it how sorry I was that this happened. But to my surprise, I felt a sigh of relief from him—the hurricane had in fact broken off his crown just below the rotted section. He was no longer in pain, and in fact welcomed the amputation. I told him then that I would, come spring, take his children and replant them in my own grove. I presented both staff and wand, feeling his satisfaction in my plans for them.
I’ll come back here often, I think, perhaps make it a stop on the way back from Big Mama Pine and the grove. I do hope he’ll still be here in the spring though. It would be nice.