"Love oak"

One day in the fall, when wandering with friends along a watercourse, looking for late autumn treasures with which to decorate the home where our Sunday services were held, I heard the dear children calling one another's attention to the beauty of the "love oak." In this way they designated a plant which adds to the landscape, in our mild California autumn, a dash of that vivid color which prevails at this season in colder regions. In masses of flaming shrubbery, or as a graceful, trailing vine, it glows with the tints of the Virginia creeper, from delicate coral pink to deep carmine. Yet this lovely thing is so associated in the minds of people with the thought of poison that the very sight of it often calls forth alarmed warnings.

To one who once shared this popular fear, but who has learned through Christian Science to look upon this plant with friendly eyes, it was sweet indeed to know that the children had found a way to lift the curse, perceiving a reflection of Love where mortal sense saw only its own erroneous concept. For years I had wished to write of this healing, long since complete, but waited, searching for a name for this form of the oak which would tend to improve the universal belief regarding it. Thought traveled back over the experience, which had developed a truer sense of friendliness with all outdoor things.

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Poem
Fidelity
July 26, 1919
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