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Monday, August 11, 2008

Entry for August 11, 2008

I know it is an oak tree but I am not sure which type. I believe it is a white oak, the official state tree of Illinois. It popped out of the ground in my patio garden during the spring of 2003, which would make it an acorn that dropped during the fall of 2002, possible even 2001. Whatever year the acorn was born, it became a tree in 2003.

During construction of my brick patio, the contractor hauled away a great deal of dirt from here that he used in the restoration work of a previous job. When my patio was finished, he hauled in dirt from his newest job to do the restoration here. In the restored area around the patio, I planted some shrubs and flowers, and weeded the area weekly. One day I noticed a sprig poking out of the ground with what looked like small oak leaves on it. Curious to see what it grew in to, I put a stake by it to remind me not to dig it out during weeding. Indeed, Mother Nature had decided that the patio needed an oak for shade.

Since there are no oaks nearby, I assume the acorn came with the dirt hauled in by the patio contractor. The oak tree is now just over five years old and is much more than a whip, no less than twelve feet tall. If it survives disease, insects, weather, and kids, it could live more than a couple of hundred years and grow to more than eighty feet tall, with branches that extend thirty feet from a trunk measuring three feet in diameter. Mother Nature may have put the tree too close to the house since it is only about thirty feet away, but that detail is for a time when my remains will not be warm enough to worry about it. It will be a perfect patio shade tree for the morning and early afternoon sun; though I am sure that it will not grow to that size during my time on earth.

If the oak survives a few more years, I may have a brass plaque made documenting the year it first popped out of the ground so those that follow can better appreciate that mighty oaks do indeed start from one small acorn.

James A. Zachary Jr.

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