Live Oak’s Word to the Wise

distressed_trees-5 ~d nelson
distressed_trees-5 ~d nelson

After climbing over & under
two fallen live oaks along the path
I got off my bike & sat
upon the 3rd’s trunk
to summon some understanding
how beings with 200 year or more
lifespans were coming down in modestly
wet & windy winter weather.

distressed_trees-5 ~d nelson

First, I sensed the oak tree saying
that after years of inadequate rains
especially in the winters
internal decay resulted in loss
of structural integrity.
Winds easily toppled over
the noble tree
with weakened roots
in rain-softened soil.


Listening deeper with closed eyes
live oak gave me a vision
straight from zen master’s diamond sūtra.
Nurture roots with yourself, family
& all ancestors
whether they be people,
animals, plants or earth.
Live humbly, gratefully
for each moment is
a gift from all ancestors
back to before the beginning.


Trees don’t live forever
nor does anything else.
But tree’s don’t die, either.
They continue, like everything else
by returning their energy
to the source, their essence.
Sun, soil, rain, seed, time
transform & re-manifest life
as long as our star shines
and even after that.
I smiled & thanked the tree
for the deep teaching offered &
for all the oxygen it made
for me to gently breathe
as I cycled away.


“What is the root of all these words?
One thing: Love.
But a love so deep and sweet it needed to express itself with scents, sounds, colors that never before existed.” ~ Hāfez, The Gift

59 Replies to “Live Oak’s Word to the Wise”

  1. Beautiful things that tree mirrored for you. We have had a big die off here because of drought as well. I tend to go to sadness – loss. Thank you for reminding me of the lesson here, and the Gift from Hafiz. Lovely post, David. The root is always Love.

  2. Great observations, David. I liked the way you stopped to listen to the trees… reminds me of how nearly all great realizations have found their way into humankind’s hardened skulls. By listening… So much is out there, waiting for a patient listener…

    Your observations of the trees show how nature works in layer upon layer of interlocking cause and effect. One change ripples through such a vast system, it is hard to understand all the impacts. But listening seems to bring change of the highest order…

    Looks like you had to do a bit of trail maintenance to get this ride completed.

    1. that it seemed so natural to sit
      and listen openly to these great beings, Michael.
      feeling as humble as a toothpick on a redwood the wood elements in me surrendered into timeless intertwined roots, then back . a couple days later i was happy that the trail had been made passable while those trees continued laying on the earth, returning 🙂

  3. Winnowing
    even the most deeply rooted.
    Weavers ever,
    realizing the magnificence…
    and you heard their song!
    Beautiful receiver, you.

  4. I think that is the one thing that always amazes me most on my walks through the woods, the trees that come down in the storms. Here in the cascades the root base for a Douglas Fir or a Western Red Cedar can easily be 6 feet across, it is like see the elders of the village pass.

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