‘I feel that when I visit this sacred place I am connected to centuries of growth, renewal and life, past and present…’
It is with a touch of sadness that I share that my Wise Old Man is on his last legs standing. His existence in my life on the lake has been a welcoming constant, a sacred friend and a blessing to my life. This tree has been my friend, my confidant and, in some ways, a mentor to my world here.
Many decades ago, long before I came to the lake, the area in and around my lake was logged. Still today we can see areas where there is evidence of this by what was left behind. With relation to The Wise Old Man of the Forest tree, he is now but a stump, a very large stump, mind you, several feet tall, and must have been a very old tree when he was cut down, as his diameter is several feet as well. He must have been so strong and sturdy that his remaining trunk was used to winch other logs by chain, that were wound around him, cutting into his bark. I am going on speculation here, as I have no concrete information, but when you see my tree, you can see the cut lines that are horizontal to the ground, and I think those were grooves left from chain winching other logs to or from the lake. The result of these grooves was that it left a clear impression of a face, with a mouth and eyes, especially the one eye more than the other from the surrounding vegetation as he looks at me when I approach. I have taken so many pictures of the years of this special tree stump. He has become a dear friend.
The Wise Old Man’s stump is in the bay area at the back of the property. I visit him every trip, and it has become a very spiritual and sacred place to me. In fact, I have laid a memorial there for my father, my mother and my little puppy daughter, all who have left this earth but remain forever in my heart. I have wrestled with my emotions, because I know I will be leaving this property forever, mostly likely not too far off in the future, because it is time. This sacred place is where I come to on each visit to my beautiful lake, and I pay my respects here to those I have loved and lost in this life.
My Wise Old Man has been proudly standing there, in my forest all of my life, but in the past couple of years, his bark is now deteriorating and slipping down into a heap at his base. His face now is no longer really distinguishable. I have been rather sad about it, but realize this is just another indication and understanding of the circle of life. Things are born, they live, grow and thrive, then will eventually age to a point that they will no longer survive, they deteriorate and leave this earth. I get that, but I am still saddened that this important giant is fading away.
He is a ‘nurse’ tree, however, meaning, he has new growth from his old wooden base. Often, his nursed vegetation has looked quite like a wild new haircut! It is so nice that his DNA (do trees have DNA) has been passed down to nurture and grow new life.
Paths have had to be cleared to get to him these past years, my back bay area being rather ungroomed and left natural. I have to walk through the low laurel bushes and ferns, over a long-dead log, and on some rocks covered by a soft blanket of bright green moss, to get to the Wise Old Man. His face is barely recognizable now, but a lot of his stump is still there, and the memorial is safely still tucked at his base. A special friend who did an amazing job of clearing the path and making a lovely lightly landscaped rock area in front of my tree, also kindly placed a heart-shaped light grey rock in the bark where there was a natural split. It is a kind reminder to me of all who are dear to my heart, living or otherwise. I have much to be grateful for, as I have been blessed to have been a daughter, a partner, a mother, and a friend in my life.
I have stood or sat by this tree and enjoyed the bright rays of the sun before it sets over the hill to the West. At that time of the day the sunlight streams right up and off the water into this part of my beautiful forest. I will admit to listening to Rod Steward and having a glass of wine, in honour of my mother who was crazy about Rod Stewart and his music. I go back there by The Wise Old Man and sing my heart out to my mom, whom I miss very much even though it’s been 10 years, this year. I know, she knows, that I am there having a celebratory moment with her, a Happy Hour bevie, song and dance in her honour.
This is the story of the beautiful Wise Old Man Tree. May you also feel blessed and filled with gratitude by finding your own special place, a sacred place that will bring you comfort, love, and connection. May you find a place that you can visit to lift your spirits and cradle your soul with love. I know I have.