The Mighty Oak – An Introspective, by Dr. Memmen

As I sit at my desk every day, I look out my office window and see a large red oak tree. It is probably 80 feet tall, 100 years old and still has some leaves in spite of today’s date of 1 December 2016. I have looked at this tree for many years and have reflected on the concepts of life, time and our respective places of the world. I find this very peaceful and relaxing. I looked out with some concern several years ago as men started to prune the tree but fortunately the tree was spared by the management of our office complex. Some of his fellow oaks in the office development were not as lucky.

I have many oak trees of a variety of ages and sizes at home, and there, I get to participate in fall cleanup. The leaves always come off later than most of the other trees and sometimes snow covers them before they can be raked. Some of the new comers are only 40 years old and probably 25 feet tall and I have had the pleasure of watching them grow from acorn to pleasant shade tree.

Last year, 2015, we had an epic amount of acorns which littered my lawn by the thousands. They hit my roof with an alarming frequency and thundered like a machine gun. I raked and raked and still did not get all of them until the spring of 2016. Over the last 28 years we have had a regular amounts of acorns every year but last year was special. Many of our neighbors and patient’s throughout the community noted a similar exuberant production of acorns and we wondered what it meant. This year, 2016, there are no acorns. I found this article in the Wall Street Journal which may explain the strategy which the oak trees have adapted in order to enhance reproduction. I don’t know if the report is accurate, but it makes sense. I hope another substantial generation of trees has germinated and will be gracing our environment in the near future.

Be ready for a large number of mice this winter and deer ticks in 2017.

WSJ Article


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