The writer of a recent news article mentioned a golfer who hit his ball into an oak tree where it lodged until the tree died and was cut down. Having been the owner of a 70-year-old oak tree at Brant Lake, (about which I had written before), I know the wonder of a giant oak. Our tree also died and had to be cut down last year. We then faced the challenge of what to plant in the empty space that had been occupied by the oak.
Should we plant another oak? We considered this option only to realize we wouldn’t live to witness a magnificent tree – Only a tiny sapling. From this realization we concluded that we would never replace what had once existed! Time passes and it is incumbent on us to be realistic about what will occur in a given time period. We might wish to re-create the past but that is impossible.
Our next thought was to plant a birch tree where the oak one stood. Since oak trees presently grew on either side of the site where the oak had flourished this would establish a birch barrier over looking the lake. We would then have a wall of birch trees and our sight might be blocked as the birch expanded vertically and horizontally. The view as kayaks paddled by, water skiers skimmed the surface and fishermen reeled in bass would disappear.
So we spent the winter looking out at empty space where the oak once stood. What should we plant in the opening?
Now, as spring approaches, we wonder whether we should even fill that space. Spaces, like pauses between musical notes, are an important aspect of life. Whether the horizon is filled with monstrous buildings, or noise permeates a sense of quiet we have often lost the perspective of openness in our daily existence. The world is too much with us.
Perhaps that tree trunk, all that remains of the oak, symbolizes other aspects of our life that we should cut out. For that matter, should we even replant?
What is your opinion?