|BAYFIELD'S FIRST HERITAGE TREE|
Wednesday, 8:00 AM. 64 degrees F at the ferry dock, 60 on the back porch. Wind NNW, light with stronger gusts. Humidity 78%, barometer steady at 30.17". Looks like pleasant weather ahead.
The following poem was written by local author Howard Paap for the dedication of Bayfield's first Heritage Tree on Sunday, August 28, 2016.
THE BIG OAK ON 2ND STREET
(Heritage Tree – 2016)
by Howard D. Paap
Today we stand beneath this towering giant
With awe filled children’s eyes,
An oak so old, yet still so young,
Its strong arms reaching for the skies.
We honor ye, this ancient tree,
At home on 2nd Street.
Why pay homage to a tree?
These old red bricks a blanket at its feet.
These giant oaks may dot our land
With hungry mouths pressed sweet to earth
But none can claim our hearts as thee
This our red oak, so wide of girth.
Oak trees may come and go
But ours still standing tall
This the tree the young Boutins did climb
And sometimes from it fall.
Just up from Myers barn it was
Where horses stayed to rest and eat
This tree for years and years,
The big red oak up on 2nd Street.
What have such trees seen,
What have they felt and known?
As saplings in the sun
Where ancient pines had grown?
‘Twas a time when money had us on the move
When folly romped so loud and free
Soon forest and fish were gone, the brownstone passé
Oh, to stand our ground like thee.
“Grow where you are planted,” you said,
“Wander not across this land.”
Over time you admonished us,
Here, beside this big lake to make our stand.
For Bayfield, like this tree of old,
Our memory post
Had storms of trials of time
At some we laugh, of others we do not boast.
But what say ye, old red oak tree?
I’ve seen them off to the Civil War, then Nº’s 1 and 2,
and the fighting still today goes on. The mills rose
around me, then fell apart, their dust and dirt under
our streets. I watched the sails turn to steam then black
diesel, the stable and hooves gave way to gasoline and
rubber tires. In the flood of ’42 the dead floated by,
the quarrymen and fisherfolk of early time. Then in
our street rose the refrain to “rush the can,” hurry the
beer from the tap to the workers, their thirst to quench.
The kiln-shed across the street became Mr. Dunker’s
Bookshop, those books filled with what is yearned for,
a laugh, some wisdom, and a tear. Those tomes, like
me, strong and ever ready. I watched the traders and
government-men come and go, to deal with my first
neighbors, copper skinned folk just to the north, those
keepers of trees. I watched the apples and berries
come down the hill, the milk brought to town (and
now I see the Creamery serves up a different suds!).
And finally came the tourists, those lovers of ice
cream cones, but through it all I still stand where I
Oh, our friend, you Heritage Oak
Your voice rings loud and clear!
Your arms spread wide, roots still deep,
‘cause of you today we gather here.
We humans, now your constant companions,
May we forever your welfare keep!
Our dreams, before they deign to pass,
Should never crash, through all time run deep.
Oh tree of old, our hearts in our hands you hold!
OFF THE CUFF
Wild fires are burning again in Yellowstone National Park, during this, the 100th Anniversary of the Park Service. When visiting in May we noted that fires were imminent, as there was standing dead and partially burned timber everywhere. Nature is an effective, but exceedingly cruel and destructive, forester.