Examined for signs of life

The mighty oak coats my car with pollen

Grad students from the state agricultural college came to the family finca years ago to collect acorns. The nuts had fallen from a tree. The tree is unique, the students said. Years later a tree surgeon came to do amputations. A white oak he said as he staunched the sap. A mighty oak. An ancient oak. A tree with more nobility than most. I’ve received attention too. A couple of doctors watch me for signs of demise. Squirrels run along my limbs, jabbering at and chasing one another. My sap doesn’t flow as it did. Nature’s plans for me have run their course. I’ve no hope of being incorporated into furniture. Its all pressboard and vinyl now. Fine joinery and polished contours al la Louis Cat Hors are never to be my lot. I’ll rot. I’m not worth the preservative. Shelac and Saudi Arabian varnish for the Oak, Formaldehide for me. In a jar high on the dusty shelves in a museum of medical curiosities. Maybe we’ll be neighbors again, the oak and me. He or she (who can sex a tree) sitting as a chair and being sat upon. By visitors. “See that brain preserved in a jar?” the curator asks the visitor. He stands. The visitor sits. The visitor is thinking of the chair. Its a fine chair. It receives their ass so well. “Yes, I see it”. A polite lie because that top shelf is dark and there are hundreds of pickled brains upon it. Countless brains and not a single thought among them. Once they held so many words and images. When prompted they could recite words in ancient order or mix them up and call it new. They once were able to restructure both image and word. No more. So proud they were of the new order they’d given to letter and line. “Hey!, look here” their message buzzed along the wires. “Looked at this new sequence of letters!” Electrons, which never wear out, carried then stored the tokens. People in far off places extracted the tokens and smiled or frowned. No more. Burning is what we need, the oak and I. Burning down to ash. Good for the soil.

Published by glensketch

Retired from electronics industry. Ex USN ex USAF ex expat in Ecuador.

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