Today I cleared a makeshift path to the giant oak (above) on Jaimie's property. It's a massive, regal tree, as you can see, and, based on its size, could be as much as 150 years old. It seems like an honor to be living near this tree that has been patiently standing here since, perhaps, the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. When things get frenzied and seemingly hopeless (as they surely will, now and then), I'll sit quietly and look at this quiet, long-suffering tree that has seen sorrow and happiness pass by for more than two of my lifetimes. It will surely put things into perspective.Here is a view of the grove of birch trees which I opened up in the past three weeks by clearing away the underbrush. I can't believe how much more beautiful and majestic the trees seem now that they stand alone. It reminds me that, in my teaching this year, I need to clear away the "underbrush" of needless details so my students can appreciate the truly valuable "trees" in the curriculum.