The Oak

by Fred Miller

Stalwart, I stand, rising high toward the heavens. 
A serene majesty, poets may say, but I know better. 
Time has humbled me to recall those days of simple 
beginnings when an acorn was nourished in rich soils 
and where one day I shall return. With a myriad of
mysteries, He has left me to dream and to ponder His 
hidden designs. And today I wonder if, once again, 
these limbs will extend and flourish with new growth?

A benevolence of green overshadows an abiding gloom now
gone and soon to be forgotten. Young sprouts nod in concert
as soft breezes stir fresh grasses into gay dances below. 
Bluebirds wheel about and play through my branches before 
nature insists on nests of pale eggs. Soon tiny beaks will 
demand appointed rounds hastened by anxious parents. In 
awe, I will watch aborning trepidations overcome by simple 
faith and encouragement as first flights commence.

Will spring bring the man and the boy once again to secure a swing
to my outstretched arms? Surely not. The boy, full of sap, came a 
fortnight ago to carve pledges in my flesh, ones I fear will 
fade with the coming seasons. Soon, warm currents lure my limbs 
into shadow waltzes with orchestras of poppies and lavender below. 
All nature joins in jaunty rhythms as tiny chirpers leap about my new 
branches in merry chases and glad song. High above, the Old Man 
rumbles about in his chariot announcing blessed rains to come.

Showers bring a scent of new gifts from His hand as small creatures
gather by gurgling rills to drink their fill while mountains are powdered
with gentle spring mists. All life is sustained in assurance of the goodness 
of His glory. Across my spine, tiny insects march about inspecting pores 
for nourishment and shelter for a new season’s life they will soon leave 
behind. And deep summer nights soon appear and spawn grand vistas and 
self-effacing moments when I’m left to consider my significance amid 
a host of wee lights illuminating the vast cosmos above.

With not a care, smears of twinkles frolic and race about across the Milky Way. And 
from beneath the roar of eastern tides, a silvery smile peeks up and chases them toward 
the far horizon in dawn’s early light. In a gaze, I ask Him, what are you like? Much like 
you, He says, leaving me with a riddle beyond my years. Now I’m reminded He has 
crafted me to wonder. In a blink of a moment, my coat of bright colors appears along 
with a self-serving pride I share with fields of gold and pumpkin. Yet I know this coat 
will soon fade into soft quilts to protect unseen hope hidden in the coffee-hued soils 
below. For this new life to come, I will soon make my final gift of winter warmth.  

From my pith to my bark, stark and unappealing I have become. Yet who am I to
judge? Hidden from sight below, life prepares for blessed resurrections, a promise 
that is kept with faith of a remembrance that links all nature to the deep secrets of life. 
From my highest reaches to my soil-girded toes, a hundred years have come and gone. 
Will my roots support new shoots in the new season to come, or shall I follow the grasses 
into dust with a sigh? Until spring’s clarion call, I am left to dream of schooners afloat 
across a star-strewn sky as I await the day when my heart will soar to magnify His glory 
and share past visages of my brief time in His earthly kingdom below.

Fred Miller is a California writer. Over fifty of his stories and poems have appeared in publications around the world over the past ten years. Many may be found on his blog:

2 thoughts on “The Oak

  1. “. . . what are you like? Much like you, He says . . .”
    Wow! Brilliant!!!!

    You must compile and publish your work. You are depriving some graduate student from deconstructing your thoughts and analyzing your intentions in such a way that will even amaze you! 🤣


  2. very good,old friend. I especially like the below line.

    Will my roots support new shoots in the new season to come, or shall I follow the grasses
    into dust with a sigh?


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