Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Triad of the Little Oak

Three conditions for the little oak to become grand: a conspiracy of imagination, the audacity of a beginning, and a tenacity through time.

Commentary: As it might be obvious, I wrote this triad after planting this tiny little oak in my yard recently. There is a story. My wife and I have been working for weeks on reclaiming a garden space left rather overrun by previous owners. The transformation has resulted in an area devoted to flowers, to vegetables, and to herbs. In the process of clearing, cleaning and preparing the space, we came across a few baby oaks planted, no doubt, by industrious squirrels. This created a bit of a dilemma for the tree-loving Druid.

It would have been easiest to pull them up and compost them with the rest of the weeds, and that's not a bad option. The trees, if left in place, would have grown far too close to our house, and ultimately would have caused damage to the house, and made the gardening space un-gardenable.

So, the second choice, of leaving them there, was out of the question. The third choice was to try and relocate them. The first such relocation was a failure. A combination of a baby oak that was really too old for good relocation, a poor job on my part of digging deeply enough to get all the roots, and our now serious Georgia drought resulted in a transplant that only lasted about two weeks.

The picture above, though, is one such transplant that I have considerable confidence may just make it. And so, after transplanting this tiny baby last week, I've spent some time reflecting on it. What would it take for this little baby to one day make for marvelous, grand oak shade in our front yard (away from the house and garden)? The same three things, it struck me, that are required for any life effort to have some significant effect.

A conspiracy of imagination: The Latin roots of "conspiracy" mean to breathe together. A significant life effort requires that we breathe together with some other creature in the field of imagination. Can we see where this just might lead? Can we see it together?

The audacity of a beginning: This is just deciding to use the nerve one can muster to start. I'd already lost one oak, and felt badly for it. Did I dare try it again? This little one was growing right where it was (and that it would not ultimately be a good place only complicated this). In one solitary moment, I got the shovel and made the move.

The tenacity through time: it means showing up. In this case, during this serious Georgia drought, it means show up with a watering can, regularly, tenaciously, persistently. Over longer time, it means keeping the base clean, mulched, composted, watching for invasive insects or unobservant traffic through the yard.

This little oak has the potential for teaching me a lot, and reminding me often. Just so that you can see how tiny it is, compare it to my hand.

Robert Patrick © 2007

1 comment:

Ali said...

Tag! Check out this nifty "Gotta Get Goals" meme, if you like. :)

(You could probably even formulate your goals as triads--wouldn't that be awesome!?)