What a curious tree is the Oak. 
Immortalized in our culture, valued by the craftsman and the botanist alike, 
A symbol of strength, persistence, and beauty, 
Bearer of the Acorn, that lovely fodder of forest denizens, 
Borne on flags, worshiped by ancients, 
Respected and admired even now. 

And yet, what a wretched tree it is! 
Its branches, with their warty, gnarled skin, stoop 
And wrench and twist their arc across the canopy. 
Wintertide, the barren oak’s frame 
Is so deformed, skeletal, and leering, 
Misshapen and covered in burls 
That it appears incapable of rebirthing the vernal green. 
But its corpse rattles against the frostbitten sky. 

Once the time for bearing flowers has come,
Impossibly, it brings forth leaf,
And yet, the leaves bear no complement for the oak.
The classically lobed, verdant petals are corrupted
With scatterings of galls, habitations of a worm, a parasite.
A sparse covering for the oak’s crooked visage do the leaves provide;
They flutter in the wind as if they wish to fly away
And escape the very genes that name them oaken.

At Jack Frost’s first touch, the epochal nuts begin to fall,
Yet even this is perverse.
Many shells are pierced, and the meat within is rotten;
Not even a vagrant squirrel will touch these.
This too, is the work of a lawless weevil,
Whose sole delight is to defile
The delicacy of primeval Man, bird, and mammal alike.

Why is the Oak eulogized with such affection,
The grotesque thing that it is?
Even the drawing of a child bears no resemblance to the Oak;
But is closest akin to the majestic Maple,
The quintessence of Tree.
No, the Oak has no beauty like the Birch,
No stateliness like the Ash,
Not a drop of the Willow’s grace;
But, perhaps, it is loved
Not because of its numerous afflictions,
And its disfigured countenance,
But because, in spite of them, it grows.

Math can be tough
Wanderlust earthing sandals

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