"Arshad loved White Rock Lake and talked often on our runs about how beautiful the trees were, especially in the fall. I love the idea that his name will be on a wall under a grove of trees there at the lake. His gravesite is quite far away for most of us, so I like the idea that there is a place close by where we can go to leave flowers, or just sit for awhile and think of him." - Angela Turnage
Poems Lovely as Trees... By Marci Novak
While walking with my buddy quietly through The Celebration Tree Grove in the dark wee hours one morning, path lit by an unusually bright moon, I spotted something white in the base of the huge oak tree on the north end of the grove. Thinking that it was a piece of the ubiquitous styrofoam, I mentally cursed its existence, then hopped off the meandering crushed granite path to pick up the offending piece of litter from underneath the tree. Except that it wasn’t litter. It was a piece of white paper, folded in fourths, like a primitive Japanese origami. Oh my gosh! It was a note. A note with a message. Clearly it had been intentionally left there, tucked into the bark at the base of the tree. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting to be noticed. Waiting to be found. Waiting to be discovered by someone who needed to read that message. Apparently that someone was me. On a small piece of notepad paper from the Swiss Hotel in Zurich, slightly bug eaten but readable nonetheless, in a legible cursive handwriting, was the opening stanza of John Keats’ “A Thing of Beauty”.
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Wow. Took my breath away. As did the rest of the poem, easily found later with a Google search.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing A flowery band to bind us to the earth, Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, Some shape of beauty moves away the pall From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon For simple sheep; and such are daffodils With the green world they live in; and clear rills That for themselves a cooling covert make 'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake, Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms: And such too is the grandeur of the dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead; An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink. John Keats, from Endymion, 1818
So thanks, dear anonymous note writer, whoever you are, wherever you may be (back in Zurich, perhaps?). Thank you for that cosmic message in the old oak tree. Editor’s note: If you want to search out anonymously left poems of your own in The Celebration Tree Grove, head over to the Grove, located at East Lawther and Poppy Drive, on the northeast edge of White Rock Lake Park.
March 24, 2009 I am super mom because of the Tree Grove. The kids had a tree identification project at school. They were to look at books and the Internet to help them identify trees. I told them I knew a place where the trees had identifying signs on them already. So I took a group of kids and they ran all over the Grove today. It was quite a sight. Anyway, we got the project done. - Lauren Larson
"It's a wonderful place for us to be. When we're there, everyone is happy."- Vicki Foster, mom of Stacy Foster-Rojas, memorialized in The Celebration Tree Grove.
"Today's mighty oak is just a little nut that held its ground."
We all have an obligation to leave our ecosystems in a better condition that we found them. In establishing The Celebration Tree Grove we've obviously left our ecosystem in much better condition than simple turf. "Ask not what trees do for you, but rather what you can do for trees!" Steve Houser, Arborilogical Services