“Landmark”, according to World Book Dictionary is, “something familiar or easily seen, used as a guide…” That “something familiar” could be a tree. Beside the farmhouse stands a common sight, our Burr Oak Tree. It has stood the tests of time and weathered much here on Heritage Farm. It’s beauty, strength and shade have graced us in our farmhouse all our married lives. It was here for my husband’s parents’ married lives. It reached back in time to my husband’s grandparents’ time on this sesquicentennial farm.
Burr Oak trees’ lifespans range between 200-400 years. Although we cannot tell how long this tree has towered over the farm, a photograph from 1919 shows it plainly reaching above the farmhouse roof. Generations of Grabau children have frolicked beneath its strong boughs on the swing. It is definitely a familiar site marking our home site.
Although it’s shade has been plentiful during our tenure on Heritage Farm, there are signs that the tree is dying. Large branches lack twigs and leaves. A tell-tale shelf mushroom has taken root at the base of the tree trunk. As spring storms rip through our area, winds can take down weak branches. Being so close to our house, this presents a danger to our home and lives. We have discussed with sorrow, the inevitable . . . the tree’s coming demise.
Though the tree is in decline, it has steadily reproduced itself with fertile acorns. Two of it’s offspring which are nearly twenty years old stand by on two sides of the farmhouse. They will take up the responsibility of protecting and shading us from the summer sun when the parent tree is gone.
It will not be pleasant to say good-bye to the landmark we have revered with affection for all of these years. It is God’s creation for our use and protection. It has faithfully brought us beauty and a canopy that declares to us the glory of God.
Isaiah 55:12 relates one function of trees. “…And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” This tree has clapped in praise to the Lord for many years. In the days He grants us, let us do likewise.
If Burr Oaks are your interest try this website.
photo credits: Wenda Grabau