Survivor's Testimonial from the Oak Tree in Winter
“Storms make the oak grow deeper roots.” George Herbert (1593-1633)
“Seasons change, but they don’t change me,” the oak insists.
“The white glistening snow does not make me white. It is not a part of my description. If it tells anything about me, it is only that I am experiencing a harsh, distressing winter.
"This is not a good time to judge me by appearance, although I hope that underneath this chilly frosting, you recognize my sturdy frame.
"I am still strong."
"Right now, it may be difficult for you to classify me, but my identity is not based on who you think I am. What matters is that I know who I am:
- "I am a deciduous oak. Part of the natural process of my life is that I lose my leaves in the winter. I lose my leaves, not my roots which are the source of my strength.
- "I also know, and am content, that losing my leaves is nature’s way of conserving moisture for my trunks and twigs. I will not spend the winter wishing and hoping to be some other type of oak.
- "My identity is connected to my purpose--to provide shade for the children. The same bitter cold which causes me to lose my leaves, keeps the children indoors. My usefulness is not affected by my harsh circumstances.
- "I count myself more fortunate than many other oaks. Some suffer the demise which makes them into floors or furniture; I only suffer the harsh winters and survive to see the spring."
- I identify with national significance. I share the general qualities of oaks--strength and endurance, which contributed to our selection as the National Tree for the United States, England and Germany.
"You should hear me tell the stories about life before the winter—the children playing in the courtyard, bringing books and blankets, playing ball, and sharing their joyful sounds of laughter.
When I recall the memory of such happy times, my thoughts fast forward to the future when the season changes again.
- "My green leaves will return by early May. My appearance will change for the better.
- "The caterpillars and the moths will come by for nourishment from my leaves.
- "Woodpeckers and bluebirds will come for shelter and the yellow bills will return for my acorns. Birds with white breasts and others with red shoulders will add to the colorful scene within my branches.
- "Nature lovers will bring their cameras devices and spend time admiring me. It makes me happy that they find me attractive both when my leaves are showing and when they're destroyed by snowing."
- Deciduous Oak Trees | Garden Guides
Deciduous Oak Trees. Oak trees are one of the most widely observed trees worldwide, according to the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. There is an abundance of deciduous oak tree species.
- Stand Strong: Lessons of the Oak Tree - Humanity Healing Community
"But still the Oak Tree held its ground while other trees fell all around."
"You too, dear reader can learn to adjust to the changing seasons in your life, the same way oaks do. You may look frail while going through your winter of adversity, but always remain true to who you are. Here's are seven principles to guide you:
- (1) "Nourish your inner strength even when you look beaten on the outside.
- (2) "Remind yourself that your rough season will pass, and your beauty and strength will surface again, perhaps even magnified.
- (3) "Recall incidents from the past when you were flourishing, and take pride that you made some valuable contributions.
- (4) "Anticipate the return of favorable circumstances and make plans to continue your contributions.
- (5) "Never wish to be anyone else. You have the skills and the stamina to survive the challenges which life throw at you.
- (6) "Be grateful for the example of the oak. It has no sense of worry. Lose yours and expect to survive the same way the tree does.
- (7) "Pray to the same Providence which protects the oak tree in winter, to protect you through your circumstantial winter of ill-health, economic hardship, dysfunctional relationship, shattered dreams or whatever the season brings. Trust and endure.
"And finally, while you wait for your blessings to bloom:
- "May strangers not judge you by the frown on your face, or colleagues by your diminished presence; may they visualize your integrity underneath your suffering.
- "May you find the warmth of friendship and the comfort of a shoulder on which to lean; and may your friendship be as stable as an oak when your turn comes to stand beside a friend in the the midst of his or her personal winter.
- "May your anticipation of blossoms in the spring, the sound of play in the summer, and harvests in the fall, keep you grounded and grateful and joyful. May you survive your winter and come enjoy my shade."
© 2011 Dora Isaac Weithers