Friday, October 8, 2010
Oak Tree Memories
I sometimes think of the oak tree out back as a sort of enemy of mine. That is because my deck is being eaten alive by it The former owners of the house built the deck around this tree about 30 years ago. When we moved here, having a smallish tree in the middle of the deck was interesting, picturesque, maybe even a little romantic.
Every couple of years a bit more of the deck has to be trimmed away to make room for the ever- expanding girth of the tree. Growth in an oak tree is exponential. At first you barely notice as it gets bigger, but soon the thing is doubling in size really fast. As the tree grows my deck shrinks. The side closest to the house is cut off from the back side. You can't sit at the table and see who is on the bench behind the tree anymore.
I saw the tree in a new light as I watched Elijah play outside yesterday. Ever since his Daddy began building a room in their basement, he has made copying Daddy his #1 pretend play. Everything is a hammer or a saw. The tree makes a great wall to whack with sticks/pretend hammers.
Watching Elijah play around my tree brought the huge oak tree that grew in my great-grandfather's front yard to my mind. Great Granddaddy lived in a old farmhouse...the kind you see in the South...long and low...unpainted, gray wood....ramble shack some might term it. His house had been built in two portions...probably as the family grew. One side of the house was all kitchen and dining room. The other part was best parlor, bedroom, storage room and another darkish interior room. The bathroom was out back in a little building of its own...if you get my drift.
In front of the long porch was a huge oak tree. I remember walking on its roots and trying to stretch my arms around the trunk. It was impossible. The tree was huge. At least from my perspective it was.
Watching Elijah, I realized that my tree will provide the same kind of experience for him. Thinking that it might be a source of wonder for my grandchildren makes it less irritating to me. It might even be a good thing.