There is a tree
perched on a cliff edge overlooking the Kentucky River,
the oldest known tree in Kentucky, whose name
derives from a 3000-year-old language now nearly extinct.
The chinkapin oak is slow-growing and long-lived,
drought tolerant and able to withstand the rigors of life on karst,
a tall dominant canopy tree.
In this forest, 13 trees pre-date Daniel Boone.
The oldest dates to 1611, when The Tempest was performed at court,
and stands today because a botanist, who wanted to protect this land
from timber harvesting and development,
bought and endowed the sanctuary she named Floracliff.
Cores from the chinkapin reveal a growing library
of links to ancient times, climate, and disturbances in the forest,
slivers of Fayette County ecology, even rare glacial relics
to show us our past and instruct our future.