IMG_1688There is an oak tree in parking lot of the office where I work.  It was one of the first things that captured my attention when I moved to Houston.  My move was in the middle of the summer.

Houston is famous for unforgettable summers.  Temperatures soar and the human body is baked from sun up to sun down.  The bright sun causes everything to sizzle, dry up and disappear.

Add to that the rising humidity and you have a perfect scenario for enjoying the inner comfort of air conditioning.  Businesses thrive on attracted overheated customers to flee into their stores for a respite from the outdoor blistering heat and humidity.  There is a reason that Houston is often touted as the most air conditioned city in the world.

No matter how much the air conditioning is keeping the house cool, vehicles chilled perfectly, the office pleasant or the shops welcoming, there is the reality that you have to leave any one of these temporary locations and step outside in order to make it to your next destination.  Most often it is going from your vehicle to some indoor destination.

That brings me back to that massive oak tree in our office lot.  When I first drove to work, it was hot outside.  The July temperatures were keeping their world-wide reputation intact.

This might oak cast a broad shadow over our lot.  There was one space left for me to claim.  It was an easy decision.

No, my truck was not cool at the end of the day but it was a lot better off than sitting under the blazing solar beating all day.  I don’t talk to trees or plants for that matter.  However, I have often looked up at that towering tree and was grateful that it is there.

When the Texas heat fades into memory and the Autumn begins a new phenomenon occurs.  The Oak tree begins to drop its acorns.  The squirrels love it.

What the rodents savor, however, brings laughter to us humans.  Those acorns are tiny bombs dropped from heights that are by no means dangerous but they are humorous.  When they smack against the metal body of my truck they sound like a firecracker being set off.

There are ten months of the year where this tree just grows.  It grows slowly waiting to be deeply appreciated when it casts if relief over our parking lot, a place for our vehicles to gather and fend off the brutal heat.  “Thanks, Big Oak.”

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography