Archive for February, 2006

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

The Eulogy

She lived at the far end of our mall on a ragged
limestone outcropping. She was sprouted and grew slim and tall making it through those early adolescent years in peace. Then came the “coming of age” time —the teen-age years. Prairie fires and winter ice passed dangerously close but she escaped without a scratch.
For all those 480 years she grew taller and greater in girth. Her limbs reached into the blue giving birds a place to hide or build. The shade she cast was deep, dark and cool. Bison, deer, and antelope found comfort there. On occasion a passing red man rested or napped in her comforting shade.
She cast her fruit about her feet upon the moist soil. Some of them even sprouted but most were eaten or carried away and tucked into the dirt by mischievous squirrels, there to unfold and grow into handsome plants like their mother. But most did not have their parent’s good fortune, succumbing to the ravages of nature and hungry animals.
Then there came into this idyllic place the greatest danger of all. Then came man with his steel ax. He felled all that stood before him for shelter or warmth. None seemed to escape his slaughter. Standing before this, by now, giant tree he raised his ax and flashing down in a mighty arc struck the trunk. Only a nick. Flashing again the ax struck but only a burse to this 12-circumference monolith resulted. The ax man stood back in awe for he knew his metal was not equal to the task and moved away looking for easier prey.
Time clicked inexorably on and the hunter came. He nailed boards up her trunk to better see the grazing deer in the mall. What a brave ambusher!
Then I came. How proud I was to walk around this mighty oak and gaze up into her gently swaying mass of leaves. With my arms totally stretched I could barley reach the halfway mark. Towering tall at the end of the mall she seemed to smile with contentment. How vain it was of me to think I now owned this monarch of the woods. Little did I know I had entered her life in the twilight years.
Last fall I feared all was not well. A few leaves had fallen during the summer. Her crown was visibly thinner and I expected the worst. This spring she put forth a few brave green leaves but succumbed to the grim reaper with the coming of summer.
She had lived 20 score and 80 years, a comfort to all. She asked little but gave much.
With a fond farewell we will miss her leafy spring, her shady summer, and lovely bare arms of winter May the sprit of this mighty oak rest in peace.