The society rightly says that the live oak "symbolizes strength, stability, and steadfastness."
I’ve always felt an attachment to oaks. The stout red oak behind my childhood home in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, is still standing. Since first moving to Houston nine years ago, my primary allegiance has shifted to the live oak, a species I previously knew only through Whitman’s poem. The Rice University campus, where I work, doubles as the Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, home to 4,200 woody plants representing about one-hundred species. Included are fourteen species of oak, including 2,220 live oaks. In effect, I spend every work day in a green colonnade, a living park. Whitman says the live oak “made me think of myself.” Of course, everything made Whitman think of himself. I’m partial to Richard Wilbur, who sees in oaks and other trees “a great largesse.”