Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Driving through the neighboring town of Haddonfield, I saw this incredible black oak tree on one of its side streets. It’s trunk was huge! It seemed to be presiding over its neighbors. There was a sign attached which said that it was planted circa 1830 and was the second oldest black oak in New Jersey. Some history.
The town itself has quite a history. The Lenni Lenape tribe occupied much of the area including the land that eventually became Haddonfield. They left the area but artifacts like arrowheads and bits of pottery indicated their former presence. In 1682 Francis Collins, an English Quaker and a bricklayer, later settled there. At the beginning of the 1700s, John Haddon, bought a 500 acre tract of land to escape religious persecution. It was passed along to his daughter. The town became a quaint place to live and shop. Because of its Quaker origins, it reluctantly was involved in the Revolutionary War.
The town was where the official State of New Jersey was declared. It’s interesting to read about: https://haddonfieldhistory.org/about/history-of-the-town-of-haddonfield/
I wondered about the tree’s history, what stories it might have been privy to. How did it come to live there at that exact spot? Did it experience any hardships as it was growing? Did it depend on the kindness of strangers to help it flourish? How did it interact with the community and the natural creatures like squirrels and birds (and people) as it matured? What helped it to be the only one in that area to survive?
I might ask the same questions of ourselves. Our lives are all rolled up in stories. We live through them as we interact with others. We create scenarios that forward our pathways. All life is connected and that connection enhances our existence. I don’t know how long the tree will continue to stand but it has already made its mark.
Lots to know about the Black Oak:https://www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org/pages/plants/oak_black.html
Sunday, February 2, 2020
This has been a strange time of year here, weatherwise. Sometimes the temperature is more like spring or fall and then it zips into extreme cold. Sometimes there is ice on the morning windshield and by afternoon jackets aren’t needed. Snow may be predicted but we haven’t seen a snowstorm yet. One day the wind was so aggressive that it moved things sideways. Another day was so foggy that it was hard to see beyond a few feet. The weather has been puzzling for a while now. It is changing across the world, causing great concern. I tend to worry about it.
On one of the coldest days, I took out a jigsaw puzzle with a weather-pleasant scene and sat down in my warm room to work on it. I found it calming, helping the grasses and birds emerge from the individual pieces, creating the butterflies, and imagining myself in such a warm, inviting place.
Being focused on one thing at a time helps to clear the webs of worrisome thoughts and move through our day more peacefully engaged. When I finally had to go out, I was still in a calm place, grateful for the time spent just putting together one puzzle and letting go of another one, at least for a little while.
NASA looks at our weather: https://climate.nasa.gov/
Puzzle by Marjolein Bastin
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Caring for Our Climate and Our Earth
This is strange autumn. Mother Nature seems confused. The temperature is bouncing up and down, sometimes zooming into the 90s. Our tulip tree, which usually loses all of its leaves by the end of August, still is partially green. The backyard normally is awash in leaves by now but the maple trees are only reluctantly shedding their foliage. It is October, right?
We do have acorns, though. Lots of them. We can hear them crunch underneath the cars that pass by and under our feet as we take our usual after-dinner walk. There seems to be more than ever dropping from the oak tree in front. At least the squirrels will have some good meals this winter.
If Mother Nature is confused, how are we to understand what is happening around us? We were up in the Alps not long ago and the temperature plus humidity soared to over 105 degrees! It’s hard not to take the concept of climate change seriously when the climate is changing all around us.
Other than observing our own tiny part of the world, how do we know this is happening? NASA helps inform us.
Our kids need to know what’s happening, too.
Earth is an incredible place. I hope that we can preserve its beauty and function and remember that we are visitors here. Let’s be good guests and care for our climate and ultimately our planet.