I took some pictures of live oaks today. They're such beautiful trees, and so much an iconic part of the Southern landscape. I planned to post the pictures with this poem by Walt Whitman - and then I heard of the terror attack that was unfolding on London Bridge, in the heart of my home city.
I wasn't sure whether to go ahead with the post; but then I reflected that this poem - speaking as it does of love and friendship and companionship and community - seems all the more pertinent right now.
"I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing"
by Walt Whitman
I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,
Without any companion it stood there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,
But I wondered how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there
without its friend near, for I knew I could not,
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it,
and twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room.
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)
Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana
solitary in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend or lover near,
I know very well I could not.