The Tree In The Woods (An Oak Crest Adventure)

It was a brilliant mid-October morning and at the Oak Crest Retirement Community, Tony Badowski, recently retired landscape architect and initiator of the Birdbath Fountain Quilt project, was taking a leisurely stroll past the completed Birdbath Fountain, which was now the focal point of the beautiful Oak Crest gardens.

He stopped for a moment to listen to the soft tinkling of the water as it splashed into the basin and remembered not only the unflagging enthusiasm of his fellow residents, but also, the many townsfolk who had supported and contributed to the birdbath fountain project.  He smiled as he remembered the dedication ceremony that July afternoon.  The mingling of residents, their families and the many folks from the town of Somewhere.  Everyone was celebrating not only the successful completion of the project, but also the sense of co-operation and community spirit.

As Tony wandered down the fence line that separated the Oak Crest retirement residences from the woods, he stopped suddenly and gazed in amazement at something he hadn’t noticed before.  There, partially hidden among the red maples, birches and pines he glimpsed a radiant, golden-leafed tree.

“Well, I’ll be darned!”  He exclaimed aloud.  “That’s a Ginkgo biloba!”

“You’re right,” replied a sudden voice.

Startled, Tony turned and saw a tall man striding towards him on the opposite side of the fence.

“Sorry,” said the man as he approached Tony.  “I didn’t mean to alarm you.  My name’s Jake Adams.  I live in the first farmhouse just west of Oak Crest.  I’m also the caretaker of these woods.”

“Pleased to meet you, Jake, I’m Tony—“

“Yes, I know,” Jake interrupted.  “I’ve been wanting to meet you and offer my congratulations on your birdbath fountain project.  I did attend the dedication presentation in July but what with all those folks wanting to chat with you and shake your hand, I’d say you were pretty occupied.”

Tony laughed.  “I sure was and to tell you the truth, I’m now savoring the peace and quiet.

“Well, now that we’ve met, could you tell me about this beautiful Ginkgo tree, I’d like to know how it sprang up in these woods—it’s certainly an unusual spot.”

“Ah, yes, the Ginkgo…tell you what, why don’t you accompany me down your side of the fence.  There’s a gate at the far end which I keep locked.  I’ve got the key and if you like, you can join me and walk back to the tree.  There’s a clearing there with a couple of stone benches.  We can sit there and I’ll fill you in on the story of this tree.”

As Jake and Tony hiked back along the fence line, Tony would sometimes stop to admire the trees.  “I see many of these are ‘old growth.’”

MORE pages to follow: click the page numbers below!
The Tree In The Woods

In 1995 I began a series of stories titled The Recorded Adventures of the Birds of a Feather Quilting Bee. A couple of these were published in The Canadian Quilter. Several stories were published in the discontinued Canada Quilts and many more of these quilting short stories were published in Canadian Stories.
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