EDITOR’S NOTE: Texas State University officials say they do not believe the diseased tree near the River House recommended for removal is the historic Kissing Oak made famous by Sam Houston, who smooched local girls there while campaigning in 1857. However, resident Carl Deal says the tree in question is the one accepted by locals for decades as the Kissing Oak and the one pictured on a Texas Forest Service website along with an article about its history.
I was taken by the story of the Burr Oak’s tentative demise — the Kissing Oak by the River House. Yesterday (Sunday) I collected 39 of its acorns and planted them all – to at least preserve its genetic heritage.
I stood beneath that tree in the Sunday rain. I have stood there from time to time since 1976 – perhaps the most beautiful example of a Burr Oak we have in this town. Right now, each limb is bursting with life, budding in anticipation of the forthcoming Spring. In just a few weeks, it will adorn its ungainly broad and bright green leaves to shade the entire River House parking lot.
My mother is 89 and walks slowly – I have to do things for her now and I know that one of these days she will fall. I’m sure her doctor could do tests that would foretell something unfortunate, yet I have not once considered euthanizing her just because she might have a fungus on her foot, or thinks slower, or bumps into her trash can when she drives — or because I know that one of these days she will fall.
If it is the potential of a falling limb that has facilitated the decision to remove it, then let the argument include all of our Pecan trees — Texas’s self pruning tree. I would suggest that we let it be, and let it die a natural death. The parking lot hasn’t killed it yet. And if we are worried about your Hyundai, park it in a commuter lot and walk like the students do. Nature’s vitality is remarkable and that Burr Oak is likely to outlast most of us.