The Magic Oak

W.A. Pattillo Elementary School - Tarboro, NC 1978 (2)

Story #1
A giant oak tree stood in the middle of the School parking lot! Rumor has it the center was hollow, and inside lived the souls of teachers from the past.
They called it the Feel-Good Tree, because anyone who stood under it lost the stress of their day. Its magical qualities had been shared for almost a hundred years. Children played around the tree while waiting for their buses. Teachers stood by in the shade and shared the day’s gossip.
The School board decided to build a new building that would be located right where the oak tree stood. Sadly. Taking Down the Tree occurred in the summer when almost everyone was gone. As the roar of the chain saws marked the end of the magical tree, no one heard the mournful cries of the souls of the teachers who resided there for generations.Dwight's Class in front of our Giant Oak 001 (2)

Today at d’Verse Victoria asked us to write Flash Fiction prose of not more than 144 words. She gave us a line from one of Jane Kenyon poems. Jane Kenyon was born in 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was once the Poet Lauriat of New Hampshire. The line we had to include in our story was: Taking Down the Tree.
I took a photo of our giant oak tree from my former teaching days and created my story.

I realized after the fact that I got the wrong line in my story. It was supposed to be:  If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant.

I edited the ending to my story and inserted the correct line. Below is the revised version.

Story #2   The Magic Oak 

A giant oak tree stood in the middle of the School parking lot! Rumor has it the center was hollow, and inside lived the souls of teachers from the past.
They called it the Feel-Good Tree, because anyone who stood under it lost the stress of their day. Its magical qualities had been shared for almost a hundred years. Children played around the tree while waiting for their buses. Teachers stood by in the shade and shared the day’s gossip.
The School board decided to build a new building that would be located right where the oak tree stood. As the roar of the chain saws marked the end of the magical tree, no one heard the mournful cries of the souls of the teachers who resided there for generations. As they disappeared, they said, “If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant.”

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

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47 thoughts on “The Magic Oak

  1. Dwight, I loved the story of the tree and read another much like it today. Trees are indeed a source of comfort for us. The only thing is that the line was not Taking Down the Tree, but is given in the middle of the prompt. Taking Down the Tree is the name of the poem from which the line was taken. You and the other poet made the same mistake and all the same I love your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate rule by committee. Trees and other valuable, spiritual, significant things are lost in the process. At the house I used to live in were 3 giant oak trees and several large ones. Because of the knife-loving teenager neighbor I moved. One of the FIRST things the new family who bought the house did was take down all 3 of them. My heart was broken as I’d considered myself their steward for the 25 years I’d lived there 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your poem brought to mind the six Italian Pines my grandfather planted from seeds when he moved to CA from Italy at the turn of the century (1899-1900). For a century they grew to enormous beauty in the middle of the farmland until new owners thoughtlessly cut them down. Makes you cry, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You know me by now, Dwight, I love a good tree story – especially if the souls of teachers are involved! Trees do indeed have magical qualities. School committees should not have the power to chop down a mighty oak, or any other kind of tree.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cutting part of the tree is true. They built a third grade set of classrooms and covered the whole parking area! So sad. I told them I would love to have a slice of the tree to put on the media center wall! No one took me seriously!

      Liked by 1 person

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