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May 25, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Growing pains the same.

Hawaiian sunset. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. No permissions granted

See to shining sea.©

Off-roaders and high flyers. They arrive without invitation. But what can you do? Being standoffish, ignoring them doesn’t work. If you don’t invite them on over, they’ll just squat.

Hard to distinguish between the temporary nuisances and serious threats.

Better to let them huddle close. Keep and eye on them.

(And a solid grip on the core stuff, just in case)

Besides sometimes there’s a surprise: a bit of amusement to fill the long days.

A silly joke, a tickle, a song tugging on an old memory.

A child wanting to know the story as he or she climbs into strong limbs.

The story’s a long one, but always fresh to new ears.

100 year old Ghirardi ALL rights reserved. Compton Oak. May, 2015. NO permissions granted. copyrighted

100 year old Ghirardi Compton Oak. May, 2015. ©

Oak trees of a certain age have perfected survival skills

  • Didn’t complain, just grew where the acorn landed and made do even if a hard scrabble existence.
  • As a sapling, willing to live rough as needed, bend in winds that uproot the rigid.
  • Stretches out – reaching up towards the sun and stars – to grow without setting limits.
  • Grows in more than one direction: balanced top growth with sturdy roots spreading wide for support.
  • Drinks deep when rain is plenty, adjusts during the lean years.
  • Marshals inner resources to survive even when all those around mutter, “It’s over. Won’t be able to get past that.”
  • By some instinct knows how push reserves towards new growth and to wisely shed deadwood.
  • Learns to read the seasons and moods of the world around it. To adapt.

Standing still, but living fully.

Doesn’t hurt to have some looking out for it, though.

To nurture, to feed the energy, to water deeply in recognition of the importance of those roots.

And to cherish it.

Those committed to keeping it strong. Recognizing the value. Showing pride as it matures.

Willing to stand firm and bravely in defense even when the situation is uncertain, risky, or dangerous.

oak tree in park. NO permissions gratned, all rights reserved, copyrighted

The fence? Keeps Uber out. You never know, the oak might decide after taking that first big step, traveling and seeing new sights is fun.©

Old oak trees and countries have so much in common.

They both utilize the same survival skills to flourish.

Both depend on people to nurture, to feed the energy, and to recognizing the importance of deep sustaining roots.

NO permissions granted for Old Glory/flag. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

On this Memorial Day, I’d like to say Thank you to all who sacrificed and served to defend and protect this country.

Although a simple thanks doesn’t seem nearly enough.

Memorial Day. Pause to cherish those who stood and retell their stories.

The story’s a long one, but always fresh to new ears.

Those original off-roaders and high flyers.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

all rights reserved for these park flowers. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

The 100 year old Ghirardi Compton Oak of League City patiently endures. (despite some humans’ best efforts to splinter it.)

Cooperatively leaping out of the ground and relocating out of the way of road construction, it settled in to become an anchor for a park. Shrugging off caterpillars, wood-boring insects, and even hypoxylon canker last September.

A fungus like that can be the final ax to a stressed tree. This tree’s calm, cool, and collected. Maybe’s its professional name is Bond, James Bond?

The oak reminds me of an ancient distant relative that spryly says, “Oh, I don’t want to be a bother. Just find me a sunny spot out of the way and I’ll be fine. Don’t make a fuss.”

Read other posts about the Ghirardi Oak here, watch a video of the tree’s unusual move here, or visit the oak tree’s park here (2014)



  1. Paul / May 25 2015 12:40 am

    I read your previous posts about the moving of the trees. Brilliant Phil. And such a fitting metaphor – comparing the country to the tree. Very apt. thank you for your recognition of all those who died for our freedom Phil. Happy Memorial Day and may there be centuries more.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 25 2015 3:48 pm

      Salute, Paul. There’s something about that giant tree – that comparison has been bouncing around my brain for a bit. Appreciate the kind words. Cheers and always enjoy your visits (and soooo, where are you posting next?)


      • Paul / May 25 2015 6:54 pm

        I have an upcoming post on within the next few days called “Love and Gravity – an Essay” and then another trucking story over at next Monday called “Elizabeth and Ute. Please drop by if you ave a chance – I would be honored.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2015 2:08 am

          I subscribe to both of those blogs and should be able to spot them in Reader…maybe among the torrent of posts(Heeeeellllp me I’m so behind in reading.). Appreciate the links and heads up – you’ve got some great tales! Thanks


  2. Kate Crimmins / May 25 2015 12:59 am

    So glad the tree is surviving!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 25 2015 3:50 pm

      All the rain may be annoying, but it’s just what trees need going into the summer. This old oak is certainly determined. It just makes you smile. Thanks for climbing over with a comment (And have a great Memorial Day!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres / May 25 2015 1:02 am

    I just was talking with friends about the tree today. It’s a beautiful metaphor for thinking about our nation — all the stresses we’ve endured. Sometimes I fear we’re about to splinter, but then I remember that, despite what the media would have us believe, the People are bigger than The Government. The People came first, and the People will endure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 25 2015 3:55 pm

      That tree. Still standing despite it all. Sign or promise or show of will, let’s hope it does carry over. (Love the recent article where the city takes all the credit for saving this tree…if a few people hadn’t noticed and stood up, sawdust.) Your last two line is what gives us all hope and keeps us from throwing up hands. Thanks for leafing a comment. Happy Memorial Day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Rubin / May 25 2015 2:31 am

    Nice analogy of the strong oak tree to the country. Happy Memorial Day to you. May we all take a few moments (or more) to remember those who’ve given so much for our freedom.


  5. easyweimaraner / May 25 2015 9:59 am

    That’s true this oaks and a country have a lot in common… I will remember this post today when I see our old trees on my walk :o) Have a good Memorial Day.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 25 2015 4:00 pm

      Paw waves, Easy. People have a lot to learn from trees (and dogs). Thanks for running over to the bark. (And will wander your way shortly….must get Molly out again before it rains!)


  6. Robin / May 25 2015 10:14 am

    Wonderful post with a great analogy. So good to see the Ghirardi Compton Oak is still surviving and thriving. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 25 2015 4:04 pm

      Rain is good for trees, so the stormy clouds aren’t too disturbing here today. Can you feel that tree smiling? (Knock on wood, no flooding here) Thanks for hiking by to chat. Happy Memorial Day!


  7. Littlesundog / May 25 2015 4:00 pm

    Nice post… brilliant analogy. We have been planting oak trees for a few years now – well, ever since Daisy deer came along. We hope to assure many decades of acorn production for wildlife to flourish on, and to ensure the birds and squirrels have plenty of shelter. We recently discovered an area about halfway to the river from here, where someone planted various species of oak trees. These are trees from all over the state, and most are not native to this particular area. It’s nice to know there are other oak protectors out there!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 25 2015 4:10 pm

      What a wonderful discovery of an oak forest! How cool.(post with pictures someday…in your vast amount of spare time. Ha Ha. Oh, who needs an excuse to wander woods?) Thanks for the kind words. Enjoy Memorial Day wanderings – of thought and foot.


  8. Unconfirmed Bachelorette / May 25 2015 7:02 pm

    So glad to hear the old oak is doing well after her travels. Lucky we’ve had so much rain this spring. It continues today in Austin. Finally, the drought has ended. We’re surrounded by so much green, it feels downright decadent. I promised in 2011, the year of the Bastrop (and Austin) fires, that I would never, ever again complain about rain. Despite all the flooding, I’m not complaining now. In fact, each time the storms roll in I feel deeply grateful. Of course, that’s easy for me to say from where I’m sitting, high and dry.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2015 2:21 am

      It’s very very green this year…and as you say,after that dry year and those fires, no muttering about the rain. Saw some street scenes around Austin: serious flooding. So many of those low water crossings have been hazardous with flash floods for as far as I can remember.
      Do hope Lake Travis is getting back to normal. We used to race catamarans from one end of the lake to the other…one time during one race, there was the time a storm blew down the lake. Sunk a couple of big monohulls. We saw the wind shift and the boats ahead going down, so we dove into a cove,intentionally capsized the boat, and tied it up to a tree then scaled a big cliff up to one of the fancy houses and asked for a lift back to the clubhouse. Went back with a motor boat later to tow ours in. It was waiting and just fine. Sigh. Austin. Even in the rain. Cool. Thanks for floating by. Stay safe and stay dry!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. PiedType / May 26 2015 3:53 am

    Wonderful to see that old oak is doing so well. I was so afraid when they moved it.

    Your wonderful analogy reminds me of a coffee mug I used to display “passive aggressively” at work and still have. It says: “The greatest oak was once a little nut that held its ground.”


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2015 5:14 pm

      Really difficult to whine about all the rain when the trees really appreciate it. There’s something about that big old tree. Can’t help but wander over and check on it (and the little park is so pretty…and it has a big hill! That’s really rare.)
      That is the best mug quote ever. Well worth glue if it gets cracked. (Often true with people, too!)
      Thanks for planting a comment


  10. Bell of Peace / May 26 2015 10:04 am

    Keep writing, it is beautiful. You have the talent.


  11. jmmcdowell / May 26 2015 7:11 pm

    I know you need the rain, but the flooding we’re seeing on the news is far too much of a good thing at one time. I hope the weather is calming down your way!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 26 2015 11:55 pm

      We are under flood watch until midnight, so fingers crossed. Being so close to the lake (and a bit higher elevation – inches count on flat land!) water drains quickly here.
      When it rains so hard for so long, it floods in the concrete city. By noon most of the streets were dry and cars were being towed to clear the roads for traffic. More people were out than usual with Rockets game/basketball watch parties. What a mess! Thanks for splashing a comment over this way!


  12. jandedandcynical / Jun 26 2015 8:40 pm

    It’s been a little over three years since the tree’s move and it is good to see that it has made it past this important milestone.

    It is also very good to see that people are still talking about the tree, and even better to see the people who live in the community take advantage of the park on a daily basis.

    I’m glad to see that many still remember that it was not due to the will of the apparatus of the city that the tree was moved rather than being made in to so much firewood. I make sure to point out that fact as often as possible and that if not for my dad, that park wouldn’t even exist and all there would be is more subdivision.

    Grow on!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 26 2015 8:55 pm

      Was a bit worried over the winter during a couple of visits, but the oak seems to be settling in now.All the rain has bound to have helped.
      That park is absolutely a wonderful little gem. Kids all over it.
      A sharp thorn under the saddle has change many a horse’s path. Thank goodness for your dad and the people that spread the word. Amusing the city has latched on to the tree’s legend now considering how they scorned the whole concept of saving it.
      Always happy when you stop by. Grow on is right.


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