This last Saturday my husband and I took a trip through California’s Gold Country. We are fortunate that we are only a couple of hours away from some of the most beautiful scenery in California. It always amazes me that with each curve of the road there is one sweeping vista after another. Green rolling hills studded with oak trees, verdant meadows and gently winding creeks grace the countryside. Where hill and valley meet nestle homesteads and ranches, each placed like sparkling gems upon the landscape. Red-tailed hawks circle overhead, searching for their next meal while cows placidly munch on the sweet grasses, heedless of the traffic whizzing by. As we drove, the cares and worries of everyday life lifted away, transformed by the beauty around me.
But it was the oak tree that garnered much of my attention. I’ve always had a special connection with the oak tree. They’ve called to me since I was a child. In their beauty, their twisted and turning limbs, I seem to find pieces of myself that get lost in the hustle of “real life”. It always feels as if each oak is reaching out to me from across the highway, beckoning me to sit beneath it, to rest and rejuvenate. They are calling to me to enjoy an Oak Tree Life.
Take a moment to really think about the oak tree. Think of its solidity, its longevity (they live for hundreds of years). Reflect on its strength – they can withstand drought, floods, cold, heat and yet grow and thrive. Each tree is unique, they adapt to the space they have to grow in, reaching up when space is minimal, stretching out with long heavy limbs when space is plentiful. Those same limbs and branches nurture the wildlife around them, giving shelter, shade, and food. The lone oak standing sentinel on the top of the knoll teaches us of the peace found in solitude, while the grove shows us what we can create together. Above all, the beauty of the oak tree touches our hearts and our souls, connecting us together through wood and leaf, root and branch.
To enjoy an Oak Tree Life is to seek to emulate the soul of the oak tree, to learn the lessons that it has to teach you. Like the oak tree we can remain solid, rooted to Mother Earth, secure in the knowledge that she will provide for us no matter what the world throws at us. As the oak tree adapts to its given environment, we too can learn to adapt to ours while being true to ourselves, secure in own uniqueness, beauty, and inner strength. The oak tree’s strong trunk is our soul, our core being. We can be beaten up by time, struck by lightning, and scored by the claws of bear and man, but we remain solid, holding onto our values and true nature. Through it all the oak tree is without judgement, giving shelter to any and all that seeks it, friend or foe. It knows no enemies, not even time. To embrace the Oak Tree Life is to reconnect to the All, to the Universe, to each other.
The oak’s far-reaching and magnificent limbs can be equated to our hopes, dreams, and goals. Nurtured by sun and soil, given plenty of space they grow, twisting and adapting as needed, often reaching immense proportions. However if space for our dreams seems limited by life or our own fears and misgivings, remember, like the oak, to reach up instead. Send your branches, your hopes for the future, into the limitless sky. There they can feel the sun, kiss the stars, and grow into a magnificent canopy, fulfilled, realized.
As our dreams and goals blossom, manifest, then mature, we become ready to feed the next generations with our acorns, our seeds of hard-earned knowledge. We shelter our children and grandchildren with our weathered, moss covered arms and teach them of the oak tree’s wisdom. As the mighty oaks taught us their secrets we too reveal them to the next generations, our seedlings, in the hopes that they may grow in strength as well.
As I gaze out my front window at the sapling oak tree in my yard, I reflect on those ancient oaks that called to me on our trip. I know that their lessons shall always be with me and they can be with you as well. On the hilltops, in the valleys or in a city park, wherever an oak tree sinks its roots and reaches towards the heavens, that is where we shall all find peace and joy in its presence. In the quiet solitude of shade and shadows, nestled closely to their strong trunks, sit back and listen with your heart. Then you too will understand and live an Oak Tree Life.