You stood for three centuries,
giving shade and shelter
in the ancient forest,
where so many times
we walked in silence
on warm Sunday afternoons.
You graced us with your beauty,
and we marveled at your enduring strength,
helping us not be quite so afraid
of death’s inevitable knock,
and the chill that forever remains.
You fell with great thunder,
like that shaking the skies,
and left the deepest impressions
the earth below will always remember.
So much you’ve seen
throughout your life,
I cannot begin to imagine.
So many birds delighted
as you held them tight during storms
and in the darkness of the night.
Your leafy canopy gone,
but never forgotten.
Your rugged bark
so many woodpeckers once climbed.
And oh how we loved your rusted leaves
that fell in autumn
and brought back so many memories.
The hole you leave behind in the earth
and most of all in our hearts
can never be filled,
but rest now, sweet Grandfather Red Oak;
for your work is done.
A tribute to a magnificent red oak tree that
stood for over three hundred years in the
Holden Arboretum in the Cleveland area.