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The Gift That Took 1000 Years To Make
Oscar Wilde said it best: with age comes wisdom. Our old time resident of Highland Springs must be overflowing with wisdom. He stands still and tall along the outer eastern edge of our property, watching over the land, the sheep, the cow, the donkey and the llama.
Mostly silent, he sometimes hums a tune as a gust of wind passes through his leaves. He has many wildlife friends and often adapts to become what they need: a home for bluebirds, a foodbank for squirrels, hunting grounds for mountain lions.
He is a kind tree. He is a good tree. He is our Grand Oak Tree. Our oak tree’s official name is the Coast Live Oak Tree Quercus Agrifolia. He is some 1000 years old and stands over 70 feet tall, so it is easy to get lost in his grandness.. He says not a word, but everyone on the farm likes to brag about our local celebrity. His height and enormous crown were recognized in 2014, when, along with other grand trees in the United States, he was officially named a national champion tree in the National Register of Big Trees.
If only we could speak to him… oh, the stories he must have to tell! He was here long before America became colonized, and hundreds of years before electricity was discovered. How strange he must have felt to sit in darkness and notice little bubbles of lights appear in his distant surroundings as man gradually encroached on his territory. He joined the mourners of the fallen during the two world wars, and he silently cheered for all who endured the Great Depression.When experts visit our tree, they are in awe, but their advice can be contradictory: “Prune it.”“No, don’t touch it. Let it age on it’s own.” Our grand old oak tree has gone through several transformations over the years. It’s fought two fires within a span of ten years, the heat from one of which caused gases to spontaneously combust from inside the trunk and he lost a large limb. However, consistent with the general concept of aging, he keeps what’s necessary to survive and discards what isn’t. And so he lives on.
We were devastated when our oak tree lost a major limb. Close examination of the fallen member, however, showed us unimaginable patterns, shapes, and colors within the wood. It was so unique and precious that we wanted to be able to preserve it somehow. It was then that our Grand Oak Art Project began.
We partnered with our talented local carpenter John, and have been working to use the broken-off trunk to create one-of-a-kind items, so that people can enjoy a piece of history in the comfort of their own homes. Our tree is no longer as it was ten years ago, but he is still beautiful. Like everything else in this world, our oak tree will one day come to an end. But we have no doubt he will do it standing tall, proudly, and quietly.