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Giant twins (Gortner) page 3

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minds us of "Come as the winds come, when forests are rended" from the Pibroch of Donald Dhu by Sir Walter Scott.

Once upon a time the mountain crests were fortresses of giant trees. Today, looking from one range to the next, one sees only their dwarfish descendants. Forest conservation projects are attempting restoration. Yet the cutting continues. Little sawmills are to be seen along the mountain roads. Huge trucks laden with mine props and pulpwood are moving day and night toward the mines and paper factories. A large percentage of the new growth never comes to maturity.

What a noble thing is an ancient, massive oak! The writer has seen many in his lifetime. He finds it hard to imagine anything of creation that represents so many qualities; fertility, an ever-expanding growth, a glorious symmetry. It is one of the most elegant factories for the manufacture of chlorophyl. It is a symbiosis that provides the balance of life for flora and fauna species.

Of our swift passage of time through the scenery of life the tree, more durable than we, is a landmark most congenial to recollections. Repeating the green legends every spring, and with a yearly ring recording the seasons, yes "only God can make a tree." The majesty of great columned trees were the inspiration for the Gothic cathedrals in the British Isles and Europe. These impressive churches whose vaulted arches seem to lose themselves in the very heavens are still the most cherished monuments of our civilization. In the presence of a forest of trees man shrinks in size awhile he lifts his eyes as he sings "sursum corda."

The Giant Oak is singled out because of its intimate association with a pioneer family. There were millions of such giants here. This oak commenced its life about the time when William Penn made his Treaty with the Indians. It was six feet in diameter at its base when the writer nestled under its branches more than seventy-two years ago, and its tops were almost one hundred feet from the ground.

The writer has rested beneath its wind-sensitive branches through many merry and reflective summer hours. He found peace and composure under its spreading wings, and the delightful airy coolness of its shade. The good and natural life is out among the trees. They exude joy and refreshing strength as though almost direct from the Eternal Himself. Under a tree ill thoughts die and noble ones are born.

This tree belonged to the broad-leaf family. Like all broad-leafs it loses its leaves in autumn, although reluctantly. Sometimes there are a few die-hard leaves on the branches when Spring comes. The edges of the leaves are lobed, and each lobe is rounded. The white oak is the state tree of Maryland. The blossoms appear when the leaves are about half grown. The catkins, or flowers, which hold the pollen, form in fin-


Rev. J. C. Breuninger


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Editor: Felix G. Robinson

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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