“The Message of my Family’s Fallen Oak Tree”-St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon


I like to believe that I receive messages from Nature. You know, like Florida’s Native Americans did? They paid attention to their natural environment. They were an extension of it. This helped them survive and adapt, giving them an edge when it came to Mother Nature and Humankind’s periodic wrath.

I remember reading a chapter in Patrick Smith’s “A Land Remembered;” it only dawned on the pioneers that a hurricane was coming when they noticed the Indians moving to higher ground.

I feel that this week, I too, was given a sign.

Last week, on August 20th, the first day of “early voting,” I visited my parents at my childhood home in beautiful Sewall’s Point. My mom, being mom, recommended I go outside and lie under her favorite ancient oak tree and just soak in the beauty of it all.

She knew I had been stressed lately running my campaign for the river and for Martin County’s quality of life.

She handed me a banana and I went outside on the deck under our giant oak tree.

—The deck of all the family outings, the deck that used to be a swimming pool before my mother filled it in, the deck of running grandchildren, the deck of Thanksgiving and of Easter. The deck of memories.

It was a gorgeous day so I took some pictures and rested in a reclining chair right under the amazing tree. It’s branches reached the ground enclosing me an a giant embrace. Sunlight danced from leaf to leaf and reflected in the wings of dragonflies. Woodpeckers and squirrels darted from branch to branch tending to their babies. I noticed how the old tree was intertwined with numerous equally old stick-like cabbage palms. I thought about how many had walked under the oak’s branches: the Native People, the Pirates, the Spanish, the Pioneers –different animals–and now me.

How long had it been alive? Maybe 250 years?


Seven days later, I received a text from my sister, Jenny, who lives next door to my parents. “I have some bad news. Mom and Dad’s giant oak tree split in half….everyone is OK, but the back yard is a mess. One side is still standing.”

So the following day I went to look at the damage. It was dramatic but it looked so strong we thought the other half might endure. An arborist said it was possible.

And then, on August 31st, the day after losing the election, its remains came crashing down…

Yesterday, I visited walking around taking pictures.

No one was home. Just me and the tree. The tree I watched grow from my bedroom window and saw reflected in the mirror every time I assessed myself. I was assessing myself now, but there was no reflection.

I moved about with care and disbelief.  Finally, not knowing what else to do, I put my hand on the tree’s gigantic fallen limb. No birds chirped. No crickets called. All I could muster to say was “thank you.”

I walked away, saddened and empty.

Then it dawned on me, I’d missed something. A message. I turned around; I looked over the pile of destruction.  And then I saw it, green and full of life, the resurrection fern.

I moved against the tree’s wet branches:  “Yes, I said….”Through water, we are reborn.”






31 thoughts on ““The Message of my Family’s Fallen Oak Tree”-St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. Looks like you won after all. Thanks for your inspiring message. Never give up!

    On Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 9:56 AM, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch wrote:

    > Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch posted: ” I like to believe that I receive > messages from Nature. You know, like Florida’s Native Americans did? They > paid attention to their natural environment. They were an extension of it. > This helped them survive and adapt, giving them an edge when it came to” >

  2. Beautiful poetry; Have you read the children’s book, The Giving Tree? When you are ready, let’s work together to Save the St. Lucie. As I said on the radio, an election is like a horse auction. If you don’t get the horses you want, you have to ride the horses you have. We can’t wait for another election to have our City and County get seriously involved in advocating the permanent end of Okeechobee discharges. If this is supposed to be a “pro-business” commission, then they better take strong measure to demand the protection of the River, because our recreational water and clean air are all we have to sell in south Florida. Thanks for giving it a great shot; now you know a lot more now, and you have a lot less restraint than you would have in a political office. Let’s get these politicians to do what they should be doing. We need Lawyers, guns, and money; well hopefully not the guns, but we do have lots of lawyers between us, and we live in a wealthy community which will support a rational and well-planned effort. Best regards, Mac Stuckey

  3. Jacqui, we have a live oak that split like that in Hurricane Frances in 2004. One half is still living, but horizontal a few feet off the ground.

    W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

    643 SW Fuge Rd

    Stuart, Fl 34997

    (772) 287-4106 (home)

    (772) 485-1866 (cell/car)


  4. Thank you for sharing. We lost a great tree and it was a very sad experience. Thanks so much for all of your hard work. It means a lot to me and to many others.

  5. Wow, what great energy captured for so many years now released. You bet Mother Nature sends us messages.

      1. Jacqui, Sorry, I didn’t read your post about the oak tree. I’m taking this opportunity to express my dismay that you aren’t going to be the nominee in November. I’m a democrat(a waste in martin county I know), I had every intention of voting for you. I am committed to voting for the best people to take this county, state, and country into the future. I will be writing your name in, in November. It’s possible that this isn’t your time but I hope that you will continue your good work so that in the near future you can represent all of us.

  6. Jacqui-

    I loved that tree and was lucky enough to stand under it a few years ago while your mom pointed out a screech owl that was roosting above us. It was an ecosystem! I am saddened to hear of this but I enjoyed your message.

    You are an amazing women and you worked your heart out for us. I thank you for that. You should be so proud of your accomplishments- I have a sense that there are more to follow.

    A big hug to you and hope to see you soon. Cynthia Daugherty

    P.S. Soon it will be time to start up the Meet and Greets again!!!!


  7. Just like the old oak tree, a half truth will not stand. It is not only by water that we are reborn, but by the water and the blood.
    Grate little story and pictures, very nice! But we ought to listen to God Himself rather than nature. We only have a short time on this earth….
    “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 John 5:6)

  8. A beautiful full circle story. I have recently been following your good work as someone who is looking forward to a move in your region and very aware of the importance of environmentally wise choices to clean up and protect the future of all our waterways but especially where it is the driving force of a regions economy. Many seeds surely have already sprung up from your good work and beautiful for you to see the same in your family’s treasured oak. While what happened is the natural course of things it is still so sad to see all the years of growth fall to the ground … but just as you see all around you in every facet of life the old tree has seen its time and must fall to have its energy focus on the new life that it is bearing from its very own roots and seeds. So wonderful that you felt the tap from the universe and embraced the beauty in the small new life … yes it will take years to build great strength to withstand all the forces against it … but so worth the effort to nurture it and focus on the growth of a new healthy trunk. ..As for yourself, while I have no doubt you would have been good for the community at large it would also put you in a position that your focus would have had to branch out into many other projects … while the trunk (clean water) would have still grown … surely not as strong as it will with you putting all if your focus on a healthy trunk (clean water) which still needs much focus and nurturing to protect it from all the forces against it. Wishing you continued joy and purpose in your good work.

  9. Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you
    I talk to my trees all the time!
    I thank them for the shade on these hot, humid Florida days
    I thank them for providing cover during the rain
    Inevitably, I receive a breeze with branches swaying branches:)
    And I thank them again😍

  10. I believe there is indeed a message. We all know the story of Jonah in the bible. God sent Jonah to deliver a message to the wicked city of Ninava. Change your wicked ways or you will be destroyed. Jonah hated Ninava and refused He took a boat to get away from Ninava. It took 3 days in the belly of a fish to straiten Jonah out and so after the fish puked him up on the shore of Niniva he preached to all the people—turn away from your wicked ways or in 40 days god is going to destroy you. God provided a vine to shade Jonah while he waited to see if the wicked people would change their ways. Jonah came to love this vine that shaded him. The wicked people were truly remorsefull and promised to change their ways. God decided to have mercy on them . God killed the vine that provided shade for Jonah and this upset Jonah but probably not near as much as Gods decision to have mercy on the people of Ninava. An angry god scolded Jonah and said why do you care more for this vine than you do for the people of Ninava many of who do not know their left hand from their right(were children). I believe the message of the oak tree is the same—Why do you care more for an oak tree than you do for thousands of farmers who you would have lose their jobs and the millions of creatures and people the lagoon would feed if calcium coquina shells once again lined the lagoons shores

  11. We take trees, and I guess life in general, for granted. Trees are huge, strong, deeply rooted but they too topple. If not cut down by civilization or nature.
    I have seen 2 trees just topple. One, a palm tree on Nevis, just missed me by feet. The other a beautiful old cedar.
    Like the LoraxI love all trees.

  12. Jacqui,

    Your loss affected me much more than my own. You came so close. You would have done a fantastic job. I greatly respect you for putting yourself out there. The defeat of all the environmental candidates in Martin County was a shock to me.

  13. I’m sorry for your loss.
    Yes, 250 is a very long time.
    My Grandmother used to say that, everything has a beginning, a middle and an end.
    Is this a prophetic end, or a beginning to consider?
    Losing a childhood memory though must be what alzheimer’s feels like.
    Shel Silverstein”s The Giving Tree (thank you Mr. Stucky) is another way to look at it.
    How fortunate you were to have at least one last visit with your old friend.
    You’re stronger than you realize.

  14. if you look up(on the internet) —- Indian River fish kill- US1 and pineda-waiting to die—– you will see fish all bunched up on the shore on this vidio. This guy thinks all these fish are comeing to shore to die. If you look on the shore you will see small coquina shells and waves are washing over them. To me its obvious acid in waves washing over shells is giveing off just enough disolved oxygen for everythig to live.There are 2 vidios. I have a red neck chemistry lesson you can do at home. Put calcium sand and viniger in a glass and then fill the glass with pee and stir it up to simulate wave action on the shore. Let it sit for a week and you will see there is NO ammonia smell. You should have run on the truth based on hard FACTS

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