Gray-brown, deeply cracked bark covers the powerful trunk. Large branches rise with beautiful curves to the sun. Well-known, cloud-like petals frame the dignified posture. You stand in the huge shadow of the oak and try to guess its age…
A gentle breeze shakes the young shoots. You decide to sit in an armchair-shaped gap between two roots and at least forget about everything. You sit back and feel the rough bark on your back. You close your eyes. You focus on the barely audible sounds - the wind in the leaves, the quiet squeaking of bark beetles, the pulse. The sounds merge and get farther away. There's only one left - a pulse. Pulse?!? Your hand must be clinging to your head and you can hear your own heart.
"No, it's not your pulse," a velvety voice pouring into your thoughts.
"And that's not my voice!"
"It's all right, Homo!" Calm down, you don't have to wake up. Otherwise we won't be able to talk.
Now your own pulse is booming in your head. No, you don't want to wake up. Not when will you talk to… the tree?!?
- Quercus robur, nice to meet you! The oak looks friendly.
So, you are a tree specialist and you are about to make contact with the common oak, a wonderful centuries-old specimen for which you have come specifically. After the initial scare and exploratory replies, you become self-absorbed and decide to make the most of it. You are already imagining the first sentence of your exposition - "In a special interview for us, the ordinary oak comes out of silence."
Do you feel like everyone knows you?
I feel like I know everybody. I admit - I'm vain. It's nice to be admired, and yet I'm aware that people don't know me enough. Often they don't even know my birth name ...
You have quite a few names, different languages give their variants. Tell us more. What is behind them?
Names are fun. The most important is my Latin name, but in practice, the most accessible for the people is its Bulgarian variant. So, I'm Quercus robur. Quercus comes to show my ancestry, and robur - to distinguish me from all other oaks (about 600 in number). The literal translation from Latin is "healthy oak". However, my officially accepted Bulgarian name is plain oak (understand - well known). More - summer oak. Why summer? I'm cold-resistant too, but winter oak is a far more durable relative. For the English, for example, I am an English oak - I am also native there.
Often people forget their Latin name - Homo sapiens (smart person). So I congratulate them like, "Homo, how are you today?"
Your possessions are vast (Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor and the Caucasus). You have a huge residence in Bulgaria - how does your local climate tolerate you?
Just great! I like to live in the lower territories - up to 800 meters above sea level. I am good, but also spoiled. The mountain is not for me, with its harshness.
Here you are one of the main deciduous species. Your importance is enormous. The genus to which you belong, Quercus (oak) is first in appearance - 35.5% of all trees. How do you explain it?
Oak is generally one of the dominant species in Europe.
Have you heard of the mythical "green man"?
(He is smiling.) This story flatters every oak, so every oak is interested in knowing it. The green man is the spirit of the trees, and more precisely the spirit of the oak. According to belief, it breathes life into humanity. It appears as a half-human half-tree. "Green man" bas-reliefs can be seen in many churches across Europe. Today, scientists can only confirm that humans exist through trees. During the Devonian period, when the forests of Archaeopteris (the first true tree) spread everywhere, large quantities of oxygen were introduced into the atmosphere. This made it possible for new terrestrial animal forms to evolve.
Your ancestors lived to ancient times. Some are veterans of more than 1000 years. The title of the oldest plant individual on earth is disputed between you and yew. 4000 years are unthinkable for humans.
Usually, a good life leads to a long life. And we oaks look older than we really are.
Isn't it hard to put so much history into it?
It's harder to not have a story to tell. (After a short pause.) I wish my squirrels lived longer. I'm very attached to them.
I see you are sad. What is the thing that makes you laugh?
And what is common between wind, acorns and wild pigs?
We oaks are "blown away". Yes, yes, I read it! Wind spreads pollen and helps the formation of acorns, and acorns are loved not only by many birds, small rodents, but also by large game animals such as wild boar. Every year I give over the 90 000 acorns, hoping at least 90 of them will grow like trees. Of course, I'm not angry with gourmets, especially squirrels.
Describe yourself in a few words.
A tree of the first dimension - very high. But look, my branches sometimes get to the ground. This is because I love heaven and earth equally. I live in lowlands and hills, prefer fertile and moist, well-drained soil, and love the bright sun. I'm sociable. You talk to other oaks, ash, maple, elm, common linden (in mixed forests). I live well and that's why I live long. I accumulate biomass, history, memories… I like bohemians!