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Kains Woods SWM Planting - June 16th

Project type: 
Park Naturalization


Our last planting event of the season went wonderfully! Thank you to everyone who came out to our Spring Planting Season! Everyone who comes to the planting has a story and experience they can leave with. Here's one of them:

Jen's Oak

"I arrived virtually at the same time as my friend and fellow colleague from work – Jen.  We work at MEC.

We are a couple of volunteers among many other organizations or groups.  Soon we spot our 3 other friends and work colleagues from MEC – Aaron, Bayron and Lauren.

The day had been delayed with the threat of rain, but all assembled seem eager to begin, so sign up registrations are completed, and we give our attentions to some instruction about what will occur and how to plant a tree and where to put them, and we are turned loose upon the slope where the trees will live and away we go…

It doesn’t take very long.  The old adage – many hands make for light work, does apply.  And yet there is some labour, or exercise – as you might be inclined to call it – and many break a sweat.  This is a critical bit of the experience, as it turns out.

On we went with our task, for about 90 minutes or so, until virtually all of the trees that had come to live in this place had found a new home, upon this slope.

I looked down the path along the pond where the trees awaited a person to collect them and deliver them to their new homes, and I could not see anymore.  They were all in place or nearing the completion of their installation.

But I saw my friend Jen.

“Do you need mulch and a collar Jen?”  (I could not see for certain, as she was near the top of the slope, finishing the hole for her tree.)

“Yes, I do”, she replied.

“Ok, I’ll get them for you”, I returned.

Fetching the items and working my way up the slope, I arrived beside Jen and looked down the length of the slope to regard all of our collective work…. And it dawned on me and I remarked to Jen.

“This is a great event.  It engenders an ethic in all of these people; to care for these trees.  We’ve invested ourselves with time and this bit of labour, and whenever anyone that is here today goes by this area they will think – There are our trees.”

Jen was in agreement with this sentiment.

At that moment and after that moment my mind raced to an appreciative awareness of the significance of what was happening.

Like a download into my mind I thought of this stately tree of significance.  A tree rooted in human history for the thick trunk and strong and long limbs which it often sports, that can give a person reason to pause and stop and stare.  A tree that has been regarded with a sense of devotion and as a gathering place often for worship under its bows by Celtic and Druidic cultures. A tree that can grow to be ancient, as some examples of which have been found to exceed 400 years.  What is a human life as compared to such a Methuselah?

These thoughts flooded my mind as they were triggered by the shape of the leaf of Jen’s tree.  Jen’s tree was – and is – an Oak.

I said as much to Jen, and of course she knew the tree she was planting.  She was attending to this young tree with – what seemed to me – a special care.  She had selected a place of prominence on this slope, as I imagined the future great Oak lording over in a kind of protective embrace, the smaller trees that would be beneath it.

I could imagine descendants of Jen stretching far ahead in time coming to this place to regard this matriarchal giant, that it might one-day be.

I allowed my mind to be swayed by the mysteries of life in that moment.  For while I could see that Jen chose to plant this tree, and had done so in a way that it would be visible to multitudes of people including her own family and herself, there seemed to be more to this story that was unfolding before my eyes.

For the presence of myself – a scribe of sorts – was an element to this story.

I had to wonder about the mysteries of life and things we do not entirely understand.  For the obvious observation was that Jen chose this Oak. Perhaps though it was the Oak that did the choosing."

Written by: James Carmichael