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Grove of Five Elder Oaks

Grove of Five Elder Oaks

— from 2016 Valentines Adventure at Muleshoe

I set up camp off of a tucked away dirt road which is the entrance to a hiking trail. On either side of this trail are very large, old Live Oak trees.

They must be hundreds of years old. Walking around the area I find that there are five very large trees in all with about ten smaller. First Elder Oak, the tree to the right of the trail entrance, seems to talk as their “spokes-tree”… he seems to be a leader. I notice barbed wire coming out of his bark and a scar line barely visible now stretching around the enormous trunk. I find this same wire and scarring on the other Elder Oaks. I can only guess that it’s been decades or centuries since someone used these trees as fence posts. They all seem proud of the scars, like it’s part of their character, like a tattoo on a human; a memory from some long forgotten story.

Tree limbs bigger themselves than most trees, stretch upward, far into the sky. Some limbs grow parallel to the ground, very slowly reaching out over time, reaching out for something that I cannot understand. I have a desire to climb up into First Elder Oak, but He tells me “Maybe if you were younger”… I smile and know he is right. I do look up and imagine children in the branches, laughing and playing, maybe building a treehouse. First Elder Oak sees this image too, and he smiles (as only an old Oak tree can smile).

I visit each of the other four Elder Oaks, touching and talking with them and honoring their very existence. They are each appreciative of my attention and wish me to return in the future. I will. Time keeping to Oak is so much different than to Human.

— at Muleshoe Bend LCRA Park, Lake Travis, TX.

This is my journey.

— Nate Long “Owl”


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