Throughout history the mighty oak tree was revered and oak leaves were used as awards, even signs of rank. Oak leaves have always had special significance, but this one is of special meaning to me.
Some three decades ago on a pack packing trip in the Cohutta Wilderness in northern Georgia I picked up a shiny, large acorn lying in the trail. I brought it home with me and proudly showed of my little memento from the trip. Not wanting to waste it , I stuck it into a clay pot with some soil and placed it among the growth at the end of my driveway.
To my surprise and great delight the next spring it sprouted and looked healthy. So I found a sunny spot alongside my driveway where I thought it might grow. And grow it did. It must have found the location to its liking. Years passed and it had matured into a fine specimen of a chestnut oak tree, a quercus montana, here at the southern edge of its natural range.
It started to produce acorns and some got away from the squirrels and fell on my driveway. I once again picked up shiny, beautiful acorns. This time I made some small holes with a stick in my back yard and dropped in the acorns, closing the soil around them.
These too sprouted and now we have the beginnings of a chestnut oak grove in our back yard. The tallest one of these second generation oaks is about ten feet tall. The photo above is of one of the leaves on these small oaks.
The “memento” oak now towers well above twice the height of our house. Easily the largest keepsake I ever brought home from a trip to the mountains!
© 2016 Ludwig Keck