Friday, April 26, 2013
The iconic Twin Oaks of Sharon, Connecticut, as seen from State Route 41 in June 2012.
Nothing lasts forever, even mighty oaks.
I was appalled when the Mistress of Sarcasm reminded me that one of the majestic Twin Oaks of Sharon, two trees that have graced a field in rural northwestern Connecticut since before the American Revolution, had been sundered in twain and toppled this past fall. Alas, its six-foot-diameter trunk was no match for Hurricane Sandy.
Just two trees in the middle of a field... but what magnificent trees! As you rode south from the Hotchkiss School on State Route 41, they would appear on the right, down the hill... a stunning vista that practically demanded that you stop the car, get out, and just gaze.
That view is sadly diminished today.
The Twin Oaks this past winter. Photo courtesy Jonathan Doster.
The Sharon Land Trust, the mission of which is “to protect and preserve lands of special scenic, natural, environmental, recreational, historic, or agricultural value to the rural atmosphere of the town of Sharon,” conducted a poll of area residents in order to determine how to deal with the fallen oak, as well as how to go about replacing it. Should the fallen tree be replaced? Or should two new twin oaks be planted now so that when the elderly survivor eventually gets toppled, there will be a second set of twins? The latter alternative won... and the remains of the fallen tree will be cut up and distributed to local artisans who will turn it into original works, the sale of which will help defray the costs of maintaining the remaining oak.
We tend to think of trees as permanent fixtures of the landscape. They can, and do, outlast us. But they, too, are ephemeral... for in the fullness of time, nothing endures. Even the sturdy Kaboom Tree of Englewood, Tennessee - bane of many a careless driver - eventually fell victim to the forces of Nature.
Ave atque vale, O mighty oak! By the grace of the Eternal, may your corpse ever be spared the indignity of being converted into a mailbox that resembles a bear!