Beneath the Old Oak

I had never considered doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) before, but this year, 2012, I got caught up in my writing friends' excitement and decided to pick up an idea I'd had a while ago...and 'Beneath the Old Oak' was revived.

After writing 'Beneath the Rainbow', I wanted to find another new writing project and recalled a poem that  my mother-in-law had written many years ago (see below, but be warned it does contain spoilers) and it inspired me to write about the old oak tree. 
I wanted to write about the things a huge, ancient tree sees within its life span, but wasn't sure whether to write as the tree or not. I decided not, (mainly because I just couldn't decide if the tree would be male or female!) so I needed a protagonist.

'Meg’s mother is anxious, depressed and neglectful. Meg thinks her mum is broken and wonders if she’ll be next, or is she already broken too? Meg wants to escape, but her mum beats her to it. Solace is found in a huge, old oak tree and Meg begins to learn to grow…'

Meg is damaged and the tree offers not only solace, but its experience...

My first teaser is found here...

Note: Meg is a character from 'Beneath the Rainbow' so, in essence 'Beneath the Old Oak' will be a companion book, but both can stand entirely alone.

Inspiration Poem:


The Death of a Tree

It stood as tall as a mountain tower,
Its branches spread out with unending power.
Two hundred years, it had stood there alone,
But only its leaves moved, when blown.
Life in its foliage, hid in its bark,
Like nests in the branches, for sparrow or lark.
Here the birds met every year
Before they moved to a warmer sphere.
Squirrels racing to and fro,
As if they didn’t know which way to go.
Their nuts they hid within its wall
To use again when snow did fall.
So many things this old tree saw,
More of nature, than us for sure,
And on the ground round its feet,
Young lovers there would oftimes meet.
They carved their names on its trunk together, 
And knew their love would last forever.
When in the heat of a summer’s day,
Little children would come round him and play.
The boys would climb to the very top,
The little girls scared that they might drop.
Then one day in the midst of a storm, 
Some of his branches were from him torn.
A ferocious wind, with claps of thunder,
Trees all around, sent all asunder,
And as the wind grew so much stronger,
He felt he couldn’t stay up much longer.
He tried to be brave and stay upright,
But he knew somehow he’d lose the fight.
Then in a moment all nature stood still,
As the wind was gathering over the hill,
Like the waves of the sea it came up fast,
And now this tree had seen its last. 
A few weeks later people came to see,
A fallen hero their beautiful tree.
Nature could see the pain in their eyes,
Because now only a battered trunk lies,
But nature always heals things her way…
So take a walk in that place today,
You will not find a hole, where there once was a tree,
But you’ll see an acorn as proud as can be.

by Doreen Shambrook