A short distance back in the woods a slumbering giant lays-what was once a tree of epic proportions that measures well in excess of a hundred feet even now as the earth reclaims it.
I would estimate it’s girth at the base in the neighborhood of ten feet or more, and have no idea how high it towered above it’s neighbors.
There is something almost primordial about it, a prehistoric reminder of days past when the land and air were clean, and in this place the presence of man an uncommon occurrence.
Now it is a sanctuary where children play, some not tall enough to see over the top and content to walk it’s length running their hand along the gnarled bark fascinated with the feel, and perhaps the history and stories they conjure up or it speaks to them when doing so.
It is a grandfather, and like all grandfathers loves the sound of children and the opportunity to weave a story or two for them.
Now as in life it is home to many, squirrels chase each other back and forth and those who burrow find shelter and comfort beneath it.
A fitting legacy for one who once knew the joy of nesting birds or marked a boundary of raptors, of reaching ever higher and the reward of a gentle breeze.
Joyce Kilmer wrote that a tree presses it’s hungry mouth against the earth’s flowing breast-that it looks at Creator all day and lifts it’s branches to pray- both a great lyricism and truth in these words.
This tree represents a lesson in life to me-that none are too mighty to fall, and when they do the memories of who and what they were should speak well of them.
We are the only species that understands the nature of our individual mortality, we entered life with nothing and will exit in the same way, leaving of ourselves our prodgeny and the memory of who we were and the things we did.
It would be a good thing if like this tree those memories provided comfort and shelter, if they brought a smile to a loved one’s or child’s face.