Reds, golden autumn
pushes its way to winter
with silent leaf fall
More about the haiku-a-day project here.
This week I grabbed the opportunity to take my students outside. We met Mr. Jim Foret, a naturalist and professor from ULL, at Mr. Al, a 150+ year old oak in our community.
Mr. Jim has known Mr. Al for awhile. He was instrumental in saving this amazing oak from being destroyed. Once the blue-haired ladies from Garden Clubs along with the Optimist Club and many school children got involved, the legislatures listened and ordered LADOTD (Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development) to move this old oak from its original home to its specialized, protected home now. Jim explained that the time was terrible to move the tree, but the progress on the service road was halted, so he had to be moved in mid-summer of 2011, a summer of no rain.
Jim figured out just the right amount of water to give Mr. Al. For years, he paced and worried about Mr. Al’s survival and questioned his own resolve to save him. And the sprawling, amazing oak made it, and has withstood the test of time. “He will probably outlive all of you,” Jim explained to the children and parents.
Mr. Al is a community icon. Boy Scouts have mulched him. ULL students have planted prairie grasses. And many others pass by and wave. If you are traveling down Highway 90 away from New Iberia toward New Orleans, take a minute to say hello. Loving care has saved this old grandfather oak, and loving care will sustain him.
I celebrate the history of the land.
I celebrate the gift of an oak and his master.
I celebrate exposing my students to nature.