The Weymouth Mother Pine 

A tribute to the oldest known longleaf pine in the world, 

recently measured by core drilling to be approximately 470 years old.

Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines, NC. 


by Riverdave Owen, Palustris Festival - March 2011

Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, 

Southern Pines, NC

Her life began eons ago

Along ancient coastline

Sand dunes were then deposited

In geologic time.

What life could thrive on quartzy sand

With nutrients so few

Pine tree came forth and volunteered

Displaying her virtue.

With nourishment so very scarce

Her plan was marvelous

Extra long green needles for

More photosynthesis.

But who would spread her mast of seed

Mammal arboreal?

A fox walked by and heard her cry

Shape shifted into squirrel.

So with her animal consort 

And long leafed strategy

Our native pine soon spread throughout 

As Sandhills Mother Tree.

But humans came and occupied

They drained her of her sap

For turpentine and timber wood

They barely left a scrap.

From ninety million acres strong 

To less than three percent

Her vast forest now whittled down

A very small fragment.

But still there stands a remnant tree

Whose humble life began

Before Virginia Dare was born

On Roanoke Island.

With grace she stands with twisted trunk

Midst old growth Weymouth trees

And holds within her aged breast

A hive of honey bees.

And so may we who come today

To offer reverence

Learn to live through our old age

With such sweet influence.

Photo #1 by Riverdave:  the world's oldest known longleaf pine, Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Natural Preserve, Southern Pines, NC

Photo #2 by Riverdave:  fox squirrel, The Country Club of NC, Pinehurst, NC