Saying Goodbye to Our Oak Tree

On September 24, 2012, we took down a diseased oak that was leaning perilously toward the House of Prayer. This oak was estimated at 150-200 years old. Although we continue to enjoy the foliage from the two maple trees that were next to it, we wanted to do somethign to acknowledge the life of this oak.

On September 15, the board of directors concluded their retreat by blessing the tree. On the equinox, September 21, 2012, Brother Paul Jasmer offered Native American tobacco to the tree along with a blessing that is reprinted below. Members of the Benedictine Experience retreat who were in residence that day participated in the brief ceremony.

The tree was taken down by climbers so as to do the least amount of damage to the neighboring maples. The wood is being milled by one of our neighbors, who will store the wood while it dries and cures. Our hope is to make a replacement door for the Episcopal House of Prayer out of the wood and also objects for our supporters such as bread boards and bowls. At the end of the slide show is a photo of the rings of the tree. It has been painted purple to distinguish it from other wood being stored. Another photo is of our temporary solution to our battered front door– it has been refinished.

Around the Oak Tree at the House of Prayer

 September 21, 2012 (Fall Equinox)
Paul Jasmer, OSB

We come in reverence before this tree
As the monastic tradition bids us
To treat all goods as vessels of the altar.

Great Spirit, you make your presence known
In the wind that blows through the trees
And makes leaves flutter and shimmer for joy.

Guide our hearts to hear you
In the sheer silence
Beyond the rushing wind,
The crashing of branches,
And the roar of fire,

That your love may deepen its roots in us
And equip us to stretch wide our arms
And open our hands in thanks
For the wisdom you have planted and brought forth
From the earth, its peoples, and their stories.

Let the wood of this tree be blessed
In the uses envisioned for it,
And let us shine like Moses and Elijah,
Sing like Miriam and Mary,
And run with expanding hearts like Benedict and Scholastica
Till we are all wrapped in light, spirit and fragrance
With Christ, the prophets, the angels and saints, eternally,
Amen.