Sentinels: Standing strong through the seasons of life


Oaks in early fall


 Oaks in winter

Happy New Year! Blessings and best wishes for 2015. I have been reflecting for the past few months on what it means to stand strong through life’s changes and seasons: bending but not breaking; stumbling but not falling or being utterly cast down. My reflections have been prompted by a stand/grove of Bur [Burr] Oaks.  These trees  line the eastern walkway of the campus where I teach – silent sentinels standing strong through every season.


Oaks in the fog


Oaks at sunrise

Burr oaks are the only species of oak indigenous to the Canadian Prairies – they are tough enough for a Prairie winter.  Burr Oaks endure drought and periodic flooding, are fire resistant to some extent, and are not prone to many insect and disease problems. They are majestic shade trees and are important as wildlife food trees [Jim Hole; Edmonton Journal].

I have photographed the oaks on campus in different seasons, at different times of the day, in different weather conditions and I continue to be amazed at their durability and resilience. I have been at this campus for 25+ years; the oaks were here before me and they will remain long after I am gone.



As the new year begins, and as I reflect on the oaks, here are some of my musings:

  1. It is important to know the time and season we are in.

2. What do we have to learn during those times?

3. What do we have to give back?

4. What does it mean to stand strong to grow through the changes that life brings?

5. What is the foundation on which we are standing or the soil in which we are planted?

– More questions than answers.

Leave a comment.  Pass it on. Thanks for stopping by.

Cliff {AMDG}

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