The pin oak in my yard, the one I see through the window from where I write daily, is vibrantly verdant this morning. The suppleness of her leaves as they quiver in the breeze, along with the lusciousness of their color, shouts “spring!” stead of “August.”
Oaks are like that, always bringing up the rear.
In winter this young tree that stands about forty feet high in her adolescence, holds onto curled brown leaves through every fierce storm the mountains and lake can thrown down upon her. In spring, when the lilacs, cherries, and maples around her are shouting for joy with foliage as spectacular as the season, the oak is only just beginning to think about letting go of the ugly detritus hanging from her every pour. Come late autumn she’ll probably still be wearing red when it’s gone out of fashion with those around her. Now, in early August, when the cool of these early Vermont mornings whisper things to come, she is finally displaying luxurious fertility to whichever of her close friends will notice.
In fact, this is the very oak of which I have written before; the one I speak with from time to time. Then again, I chat with the other trees too – not in a schizophrenic delusion but more of a Jonny Appleseed or Thoreausian humor. Her offbeat, out-of-step, behind-or-ahead-you-can-never-tell demeanor feels deeply familiar to me.
Sometimes, toward the fading of any season – whether annual phases of the sun, or the more slow-roasting seasons of life, or even the marching stages of career – I seem to be a step or two slow or fast in knowing what time it is. There is not much to be done about it; I suppose it is like the absence of mechanical aptitude that has never changed for me no matter how much I tried to grow and nurture some.
So she inspires me, the young oak in my yard. She seems to enjoy who she is no matter the season and even though she never wears quite the right fashion for it. I admire the confidence and self-acceptance she has achieved at such a young age, and aspire to be like her even though my season of life is quite a bit grander than hers.