A couple weeks ago I was in the South, Georgia and South Carolina, enjoying the early spring. I have a "thing" for trees and I love the efforts I saw to preserve some of these old beauties.
Beaufort, SC - Gnarled old branches of a live oak that have wandered over the road for centuries are cared for, a "Clearance - 10 feet" sign alerting vehicles passing under.
Hilton Head Island - Another sign reminds walkers and bikers to duck under the branches at a park entrance.
Savannah - Colonial Park Cemetery. Spanish moss hangs from the old oaks shading the graves of Colonial leaders and heroes of the American Revolutionary War.
Hilton Head - Cypress trees make a valiant effort to create a root system that will let them hang on in their fight against constant erosion by wind and water.
Harbor Town, Hilton Head - Plans to build a harbor here were altered to preserve this huge live oak. It was given a name - the Liberty Oak - and the environmentalist responsible for its preservation, Charles Fraser, is buried beneath its branches.
One of my dad's favorite poems was this one, and he enjoyed reciting it often from memory.
I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that in summer wears
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer, American poet, father of five, killed by a sniper's bullet in the Battle of Marne in World War I.
Well said, Mr. Kilmer!
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