My parent's old farmhouse sits on the top of a rise, way out in the middle of nowhere. If you stand in their kitchen, there are 2 large picture windows that look out over the slope of the hill...a strip of grass, a patch of garden, a lone grapevine, a scraggly fence that borders a pasture which in turn rolls down to the marshy edge of a creek.
Possibly my favorite sight from the windows- no matter the time of year- is an old Oak tree that stands just at the edge of the marshy creek. I've taken countless photos of the tree, always hoping to catch the essence of the tree that I'll be able to keep when the tree falls. I don't ever remember this Oak tree having very many branches, let alone any leaves. All that is left of it is the skeleton- but I still find it to be the most beautiful and poetic tree I've ever seen. My dad and I will often comment on how sad we will be whenever a windstorm gets the best of our favorite Oak...and we remind ourselves that it will probably happen sooner than later.
I sat at my parents table today, looking out the window at the ice and snow. The wind was howling around the house and I found my sentimentally looking at the Oak and silently grieving the day (maybe even today, with this wind!) when the Oak would be gone. I noticed the branches on the neighboring maple trees waving madly, and the whole of a nearby elm was swaying as if it might tip over at the next gale. The Oak, however- seemed to be immoveable. It was almost as though the buffeting that all the other trees were receiving was nothing to the Oak. Each time we felt the house shutter, the old Oak stood firm, it's bare majesty giving testimony to deep roots and years of perseverance.
The Oak is old. It is long past it's prime. The life is out of it. But it has a heritage that is lasting much longer than itself. It set itself a foundation that has endured the test of time and the lessons it whispers are worthy to be learned.