There are lots of oak trees in this area. We even have two on our property, one in the front, and a larger one dominating the back garden. This is one of the biggest I have seen around here though, and it greets you as you enter through the gate onto Hoe Rough. It has been dated at around 350 years old.
The photo can be enlarged by clicking on it.
It started growing in 1666.
As it grew, London was devastated by The Great Fire. Charles II was on the throne of England, and Samuel Pepys was writing his famous diary. When this oak was 110 years old, the far-off colonies in America declared independence, and started a war with England to achieve it.
In 1916, the tree had reached the grand old age of 250. That summer, Britain suffered terrible casualties at the Battle of The Somme, and the First World War would drag on for two more years after that. Fifty years later, and England won the 1966 football World Cup. The Beatles were said to be ‘more popular than Jesus’, and the war in Vietnam was escalated. I was just 14 years old. The tree was 300.
This tree slumbered through the Moon landings, the first heart transplant, industrial unrest, and various changes of government. It shed its leaves and acorns, and its massive trunk increased in girth. It paid no heed to the three day week, power cuts, immigration, or the EU. The pettiness of mankind was beneath it, and the branches continued to spread. It survived storms, lightning, parasites, and drought. It paid no heed to snow, ice, flood, or hurricane.
When I am not only dead and gone, but my presence on earth is no longer even a memory, it will still stand. People will pass under the huge canopy, and wonder at a tree that is over 400 years old. That is just how it should be, and the thought of it makes me feel strangely happy, deep inside.