Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Inglorious End for a Glorious Oak

I'm no tree hugger, but I hate to see one go.

I've been engaged in a sad chore in my spare time the last couple of weeks here at the northern end of southern nowhere. Perhaps the greatest loss I suffered during the Super Tuesday Tornado last February was two of a trio of massive Eastern Red Oaks at the back end of my back yard. They undoubtedly had stood silent sentinel in that location for well over a century. They were there and taller than the altitude achieved when the Wright Brothers began the era of powered flight. They survived the deforestation of this part of the south in the early part of the last century and witnessed the introduction of the cussed kudzu vine to control the resultant erosion. I like to think that some young man returned from one of America's wars or from battling the ground to produce a living and soothed his soul in their shade--I know I have.

The storm that changed the lives of my neighbors and rearranged the landscape hereabout laid two of those old oaks over--one completely down in the prone position, the other propped up on stout limbs as if at the "up" position of a pushup. Their roots are still connected to the earth and this spring they leafed, if not as as full as they might had in their upright years, and I have been loathe to submit them to the axe. So, I used a chainsaw instead.

For two weeks now, Miss Brenda and I have pruned the smaller limbs from our two prostrate pals and fed them into a chipper. The resulting mulch has found a new home in the flower beds around the house. The wood looks good there, if not as majestic as in its former life. A friend has a saw mill and I plan to convert some of the straighter and thicker limbs into oak boards for projects. The crooked short pieces will fuel my fire pit this fall. Can't wait to watch their sparks become stars.

Perhaps conversion to carbon will be their greatest contribution. In case you missed it, the sun is entering a very quiet cycle--there has been no sunspot activity for over a month. The last time that happened--the last ten times that has happened--it presaged a cooling phase for the planet. That's right, Al Gore and all of you hubris-filled secularists, the God of the universe is in control of our environment. With the blink of an eye His will reaches to the edge of the expanse and tweaks a nondescript minor star whose minuscule power fluctuation influences our speck of dirt's environment much more than mere man could do short of global thermo-nuclear war. Even then I'll side with His Majesty--the largest explosions man has ever witnessed in our solar system were the teeny-tiny (on the universe's scale) pieces of comet Shoemaker-Levy hitting Jupiter.

Me and my oaks ablaze are going to do our part to save the planet from (once again) becoming a big ball of ice.
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