The Mighty Oak Tree by Arthur Cola
Recently I was at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England. I was presenting how I came to write my novel: The Shamrock Crown (Legend of Excalibur). While there I had the pleasure of fulfilling this former History teacher, and now a writer of books and screenplays, with a visit to the Freedom Trail inBoston,LexingtonandConcord. In the charming Colonial Village of Concord not only is there the site of the Battle of Concord which along with Lexington were the first battles of the Revolutionary War but also a town filled with America’s leading literary authors of its early days as a nation. Such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau had homes inConcordwhich one may visit. But that’s not all, for up on a forested hill isSleepyHollowCemeterywhere those very personages of literary fame are buried along with Nathaniel Hawthorne. That portion of these burial sites is called Author’s ridge. Amidst the giant Oaks which probably saw those days of battle and the birthing of a new nation now rest these great authors whose works live on in history and classrooms acrossAmerica.
As I stood beneath those Oak trees the winds picked up and I was hit by falling acorns. I picked up the one which hit my head and held it as a relic of sorts in the palm of my hand. Once upon a time, during my days in education my faculty gave me a plant. On the card it read: “to our mighty Oak.” I think that’s when I first appreciated the Oak as a symbol of strength stretching out its protective branches to protect and shield those below it. Not long afterwards we conducted a family heraldic search and found that the Oak Tree was the main symbol on our family Coat of Arms and that it also stood for Truth.
Now I held the seed of an Oak in my hand firmly as these thoughts raced through my mind. Could this city boy originally fromChicagoactually hope to grow something from this acorn which bounced off my head almost playfully, I thought, as I slipped it into a baggie. A “baggie” you say? Indeed I always carry a couple of the tiny plastic bags to collect a rock from special places which I visit in my travels while promoting my books. And what could be more impressive than these historic hills of Concord where the spirits of our premier authors seem to surround their final resting places.
That all took place last fall when those mighty Oaks began to assume those golden colors and released their acorns to bring forth a new generation of these hardwood giants. When I returned home I gathered my three grandsons and granddaughter and told them the tale of the magical Oak who tossed one of its acorns onto my head so that I might bring it back to them to grow a new Oak. And so we filled a small flower pot with soil and planted the acorn with proper ceremony. I had sought advice from a landscaper in New Hampshire as to whether or not such a goal as to grow my own Oak was actually possible. “Indeed, just make sure you place it in a cold area first,” he replied. Well living in Wisconsin that was no problem when winter came around. So out it went into the garage not to be returned until March.
Now it’s July and lo’ and behold the acorn has sprouted. The slender green thread of this shoot shall become its hard trunk. And from that core splendid branches shall extend as a shield to those below. The eyes of the children widened with awe and wonder. The new life seemed to grow right before their eyes which where like saucers ablaze with delight. Our Oak is only about 10 inches tall at this writing but already the questioning has begun as to where it shall be planted when it reaches a size strong enough to endure the natural elements.
I’m thinking that I’d like it to be planted at the site where one day I shall be laid to rest. Then one day when future generations of my family visit they will take note of the tree and perhaps be hit by a falling acorn and be reminded that their Papa told fantastic stories laced with messages of truth and history. My wife just sits and smiles as I expound on this thought. “You’ll not be planting that tree for quite some time, Arthur,” she says. So until then what do I do with a Mighty Oak descended from the soil where rests such noble and gallant writers as to have formed a literary style and grand vision of what this great nation of the United States should be?
(Arthur Cola is the author of the Historical Fiction novel of The Stone Cutter Genius, the fantasy adventures of The Shamrock Crown and Papa and the Leprechaun King as well as screenplay adaptations of the books. His newest screenplay adaptation based on The Stone Cutter Genius is under development in Hollywoodat this writing. Visit his web site: www.arthurcolalegendarytales.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Blog sites: www.arthurcolalegendarytales.wordpress.com , www.authoradvance.com and www.theirishbookclub.com )