Pictures included are from different parts of Missouri.
In the back of Selma’s Mom’s country home are some unusual looking White Oak Trees. I’m sure they began their growth in the late 1800’s.
Today, as before, I’m captivated by them. I’ve never experienced these types of profound mixed feelings for them.
It’s as though I’ve been allowed to stand and gaze at the grand elegance of their rough, crooked huge branches, some much more than my waist size.
I’ve taken photos before of these grand kings, standing, spreading their mighty arms. There are five, that have the commanding stance over her house.
A photo cannot capture the essence exuding from them. After years of bending and twisting to the whims of the north winds, drooping, sagging beneath each of the long winters’ snows. Awakening each spring with the refreshing breaths of warm winds, which add another growth ring, to these giants’ waists.
A year of growth shaped and contoured by the long cold winter’s night.
To then be baked through the long hot summer days amidst the summer storms.
These majestic kings’ branches dance as lightning strikes.
This one May day, of the many years of their gnarled sturdiness, I’ve been allowed to actually gaze in on the wonderment of how they have endured; these grand kings of five!
Broken, then healed, year after year, healed-growth-scars covers their battered exteriors; only through this can one begin to see the now developed grandness of each of these individual kings.
One area is lightning plundered, new growth then covers anew, shaping, forming the intricacies that I gaze upon this today.
I never have, in my almost seventy years of life felt compelled to write about any tree. Now, I’m driven, to sit in front of these, the mightiest, to put on paper, as if its a written testimony on their behalf.
I tried moving my lawn chair to different places before them. Strangely, an invisible hand directs me back to one particular place. Only from this position they would want me to gaze upon them.
I’m writing, spilling forth descriptive phrases as though it’s their last will and testament; that one day an ax will be laid to its’ bark, and they will be no more.
Today, though, these gentle giants are such a pleasure to be amidst. As I sit, look, inspect, clamor for every knotty detail, I know that this reality can only be duplicated in their presence. My mind isn’t capable of a picture memory of this forest majesties.
This that I write, these thoughts, are from something much deeper than my mind.
As the summer lightning storms danced on the kings’ branches; likewise, my emotions, the feelings of life, leaped in my heart, dancing with a spark unknown before.
Norman Oetker, May 2015 From my mother in law’s backyard. Bismark Missouri U.S.
Norman Oetker Protestant Christian Missionary served in: US., Thailand, Reynosa Mexico, and now in Saint Charles Missouri