We planted a tree yesterday — a live oak from Friends of Live Oaks in Virginia Beach. From the time we left to pick up our tree until the time we stood back and admired our work, the entire process took less than three hours.
The result of our three hour investment will (hopefully) outlive us. It’s a profoundly satisfying concept, that something so simple can be so permanent.
The website says these trees may live 1,400 years, a span impossible to feel. I’ve lived forty-four years. My father lived fifty-two years. My mother, seventy-six. My grandmother, one hundred years.
Beyond one hundred years, I’m grasping mist. A few family photos from the late 1800s. A Civil War diary. A name that may or may not be an ancestor. Rumors and speculation.
It makes me wish paper could be shaved, sheet by sheet, from a tree’s cross-section. Pages would preserve rings far more interesting than the words I write. Seasons of flood and drought, ages of ice, flashes of fire.
Today our little live oak has two rings, three at most. Each says nursery in healthy excess. Next year a smaller ring will say transplanted. After that? Mist again…
I haven’t named any of the yard’s trees, until now. A few days ago I started calling the live oak Treebeard, and the name stuck.