Lenox — Summer’s dog days are coming to an end, and you’re still jonesing for Tanglewood? You haven’t seen the streaming videos of Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians in recital? Or the free Sunday afternoon Tanglewood encore performances?
You’ve been asleep at the wheel?
Don’t panic. There’s still more Tanglewood content streaming from bso.org throughout August than you could possibly consume. Plus, you can still walk the Tanglewood grounds (by appointment), and professor Jeremy Yudkin still has one more Zoom-enabled Tanglewood lecture to deliver this month (his popular Beethoven’s Ninth talk on Sunday, Aug. 23).
And if all that isn’t enough to raise your spirits, I’m going to show you how to get your hands on an actual piece of Tanglewood — a living memento of the place that you can enjoy on your own lawn while you listen to streaming performances from Tanglewood.
When Tanglewood’s Linde Center for Music and Learning opened last spring, one couldn’t help noticing that designers William Rawn Associates had wisely laid out the Center’s four buildings such that a certain 100-foot-tall oak tree would be visible from inside any of the performances spaces, with Studio E enjoying the nearest view. Last summer, the tree produced an immense crop of acorns (it was a mast year), and when they fell to the ground in autumn, I felt a squirrelly compulsion to gather as many of the nuts as possible. So that’s what I did. Stuffing acorns into a grocery bag on my hands and knees outside of Studio E got me some funny looks. A couple of passersby grinned and pretended to understand the importance of my mission. But they were trolls — obviously trolls.
Because red oak acorns must spend about four months in frigid temperatures before they can germinate, I stored the precious seeds outdoors for most of the winter. In March, I planted three of them in a pot indoors, and about a week later, I had three tiny seedlings soaking up photons on my windowsill.
I gave most of the germinated acorns to the Boston Symphony Orchestra to use in whatever way they choose, and I gave about two dozen of them to the Lenox Library Association. Now in pots, they are seedlings with the most beautiful deep green leaves.
The mortality rate of oak seedlings is extremely high — kind of like tadpoles. But, once outdoors, if the tiny trees in my pot aren’t devoured by deer or toppled by high winds, they could very well reach the age of 400 (but probably only half that).
If you’d like to own one of these Tanglewood red oak seedlings, just send an email to Bob Ireland (RIreland@lenoxlib.org) and prepare to make a donation to the Lenox Library Association.
At the very worst, it will merely cheer you up and add a bit of oxygen to your immediate environment. At the very best, it will produce many tons of oxygen over its lifetime and provide shade for your progeny 300 years hence.