The oak – quercus robur – is a deciduous tree native to Britain, growing to a height of 20-40m. The oak doesn’t produce acorns until about its 40th year, and doesn’t reach its maturity for timber until 150 years. Oaks can live for up to a thousand years. Oaks and oak woods support a larger diversity of living things than any other native tree.
The wood is hard and durable – robust as its Latin name suggests. It has been typically used for constructing ships and for beams in buildings. The wood is widely used for floor boards and barrels. Tannic acid from the wood is used in tanning leather.
The oak tree has become a symbol of strength and survival.
In the Book of Genesis, the Lord God appears to Abraham whilst he is by the oaks of Mamre and they sit together in the shade.
Provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes, the oil of joy, instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of God’s splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 63:3-4
Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we become oak trees. E F Schumacher