THE CORK OAK
Excerpt from Book #1 in Brandon’s Pursuit Series, release date Winter 2014:
She went back in time to a picnic that she had prepared for her father by the Carmel River.
The majestic Cork Oak, Quercus suber, grows to sixty feet both wide and high and has an incredible bark structure. The gnarly thick cork is the bark of commerce. That lovely cabernet I enjoyed last night was protected by that mighty oak’s ‘skin.’ The oak displays a rich palette of color and texture. The leaves have a waxy deep green surface while the under leaf is a fuzzy grey. The cork bark can get up to a foot thick and uses the principles of torque in order to achieve its abstract geometrical branching form. The very attribute that this giant embraces for her notoriety— as well as her protection—is the one attribute that causes her downfall. A common trait in humans.
Lovers and winemakers have desecrated her bark for millenniums. The vintners of ancient times only needed a primitive knife to seal their latest fermentations, while lovers carved eternal inscriptions. Nowadays, industrial wine merchants ravage her completely. Even the industrious woodpecker takes advantage of her soft temperament to shove her own acorns into her skin, assaulting her inner anatomy as they hunt for wood boring beetles. Each one of these assaults is small individually but when accumulated over time, can take down the benevolent elder—the damage becoming irreversible. Each little jab, every insult, all moments of disrespect can result in disease and an eventual structural breakdown.
Human’s personal relationships are exactly like the life of this giant sentinel. A personal relationship is the sum of its parts. The twists and turns of human relationships result in the being as a whole, each event causes branching in a new direction, thus furthering to stabilize the overall structure. When nutrients and illumination are added, the fundamental structure will strengthen. However, in human interaction, each small jab, every tiny insult—even if waived off with a hand—leaves a hole. The natural process can survive a myriad of insults that life will bestow on you gladly and in perpetuity. Winemakers and lovers will readily leave their marks. Yes, there will be a few old initials carved on your own bark, but one must work hard so the holes do not overcome your own wellbeing. To protect your personal structure, you should walk away from anything inflicting little holes, for if you have enough of them—they can take you down.