Oak Tree Survivor of Centuries
But what could this tree tell us of before our recorded history, when it was a small sapling pushing its way up through a dark woods of other oaks, chestnut, elms, & ash? The old growth forests still existed & some of this tree’s ancestors were giants in their own world before the axe. The Northern Red oak is a species native to the area & is a very slow growing tree. It takes many generations for it to put on girth & mass. In the 1700’s it may have been on or near the Seneca trail that led north to Lake Ontario & Irondequoit Bay, where summer camps of the first people fished & hunted. And to the south the trail would lead down to the Finger Lakes & paths beyond. Who might have brushed it as they walked by, maybe hunters or early explorers? At that time there were not only deer but bear, cougars & wolves, all long gone, not even a shadow where they once walked. Every growth ring on this tree recorded those moments into many years, the good seasons wide bands & the hard dry years when the growth rings were tight, all encoded in this very tree. It has survived all this time. It lives & breathes but it cannot speak to us directly of the history that happened all around it. And yet it still holds the past for us.