The shade of a tree

News | June 29, 2023

Serit arbores, quae alteri saeclo prosint. “A person plants trees for the benefit of later generations.”

These words of the Roman poet Caecilius Statius (220 – 167 BC) may not be original to him. And, poets, preach­ers, and philosophers have certainly re­worded them in countless ways since. But the idea is always the same. The planting of a tree, under whose shade the planter may never sit, is still a blessed act.

St. Paul bid a fond farewell to the beau­tiful oak tree on its north lawn this week. Carpenter ants had dangerously hollowed out its insides despite arborists care for the tree over the decades. We don’t know ex­actly when it was planted without a close count of the rings. But it provided a marvel­ous canopy of shade for decades of outdoor activity at St. Paul. We’ll soon plant a new tree, knowing that some of us may never be able to enjoy its shade but that future gen­erations will be blessed by our deed.

2 Comments on “The shade of a tree”

  • Peg Iglehart

    June 30, 2023 at 8:07 pm

    I too am a lover of the poetry of trees. While they grow somewhat slowly, I would encourage St. Paul’s to consider planting another oak in place of the one recently lost. All varieties of oaks are considered to be a keystone species, meaning they are trees that entire ecosystems depend on for survival and habitat. Any species of oak acorns provide food for more than 100 vertebrate species of wildlife, and oak trees can support over 500 different species of insects , which in turn provide food for the 100 vertebrates mentioned above. If you would consider an oak replacement we would consider purchasing this tree. Oaks have a great personal significance within my family. Please refer to Prof. Douglas Tallamy’s book “The Nature of Oaks”. I’d be happy to share my copy with anyone who would care to read it. An oak would certainly be a tree to be enjoyed and cherished with generations to come. Just look throughout VanderVeer Park and you will find several species in varies states of their growth. Their beauty, strength, and longevity are unsurpassed in the world of trees.

  • Don Garrison

    June 30, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    I believe Joycw Kilmer had it right when he wrote, I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree. A tree that looks to God all day and lifts it’s arms as if to pray. Perhaps that is why I love to plant trees and watch them grow into a small forest. Of course they will out live me, but others will get to enjoy their beauty and meditations also.

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