At around 0730 this morning, I had my hand on the maternity pasture gate, headed out to feed, when something, obviously a bird but I never saw it, ripped over my head at a speed I'd never seen before. It startled me enough to try and track it to identify it when I saw the top of the ancient Legacy Oregon white oak in the south pasture topple, followed by the rest of the tree, in a shuddering, lingering crash. I yelled for Dale, saw that at least Pony wasn't in that pasture but didn't know where the sheep were. Going out to the barn I found them behind it, safely out of harm's way. The cows in the north pasture scattered like leaves in a hurricane when it came down, but then of course went back to eating once they realized it had no impact on them.
It was saddening to see the old soldier crash to its death. We knew it wasn't much longer for this world, as it was rotted out thru the heart of it when we moved in back in 2006. The OSU grad student who studied it over the course of the summer of 2007 said it looked fairly healthy but definitely had some problems.
I'm so glad that a lot of pictures of it exist and that my good friend Mimi from Germany and her family had a chance to see it. Somewhere we have a picture of the entire family plus my brothers and their kids, ringed around it holding hands. It took all probably 9 or 10 of them to make it around the trunk.
Goodbye, old friend. We will leave the stump for the vultures to roost on and remember you for the quiet dignity and towering strength you had for so many centuries.
6'3" Dale in the pix for scale