I have sat under the branches of that old oak tree since we moved into our home. Many a summer night I looked into its branches from the deck or from my swing that has sat under it for several years.
Birds twittered as they lit upon the boughs singing their song of the morning and crooning evening lullabies.
The green leaves always posed a pretty lacy pattern against the azure blue sky in the fall. I’ve often raked the brown leaves that were cast down to protect the dogs and chickens against winters chill.
This tree was the first tree I looked at in the spring time, just waiting on the catkin to bloom and watch it grow. The limbs arched gracefully over the western side of the roof in a pretty pose in front of the chimney.
I drew a picture of them one time because my cat was sitting on the chimney cover and the new green leaves with the long tendril blooms looked pretty in the moon light.
Last year during the summer when I rounded the house to go feed the chickens I noticed the leaves were dying. I thought it was just because of the dry weather we were having.
But this past spring no catkin emerged from the tree. No new leaves came out. At first I just thought it would be late blooming, but that was not the case.
All summer long the old tree has stood lifting gaunt bony fingers to the sky. All summer long my heart has hurt because I knew it would soon have to be cut. It cast a big dead branch to the ground one day fortunately missing Jonathan’s truck.
My sweet nephew came one Saturday recently and between he, his brother and another nephew they were able to safely bring the old tree down.
I left the Bodock Festival to go watch the two biggest parts of the top of the tree be cut down, all the while praying for the boys safety and the safety of the house. They came crashing to the earth and no one was hurt, with only minimal damage to a few shingles on the house.
It took all day to bring most of the giant to the ground. Jon texted me a picture of the first cut and the last cut of the tree. When I drove up that night, the sky was strangely empty.
On Sunday morning Jon and I sat on pieces of the trunk of the old tree sharing a cup of coffee.
“This gives you a different perspective of the house and the yard, doesn’t it?” he asked.
I nodded and he knew I was still hurting over the loss of the old tree. They left about 15 foot of the trunk standing in the ground.
“I’ve got plans for it,” Jon said. “I’m going to build a tall deck around it that we can climb up and enjoy looking across the yard.” He stopped and smiled sweetly. “It will ‘live’ again.”
“You are such an encourager,” I replied. “At least we have a couple of stumps to sit on in the yard. This reminds me of the book, ‘The Giving Tree’.”
I reflected a moment. The old tree gave me shade, cast its acorns for the squirrels, housed birds and gave us lots of leaves to enjoy over these past years we have know it. And soon it will give us a pleasant respite from the day as we sit on our deck around the old trunk.
As I strolled down the drive way the next day I looked up and realized that there were other trees that I’d not paid attention to because of focusing on the one I’d lost.
But each spring, I’ll never forget the catkin and the small oak leaves that came out from an old oak tree that will forever live in fond memory.