In the spirit of tree worship that this blog has lately become, I thought I’d give a shout out to my alma mater and motherland, The Buckeye State. Perhaps you have to spend some time in Ohio’s capital city to recognize the frenzied devotion to this tree. It’s more than football fever, although the Buckeye is the sacred tree of sports and the mascot of The Ohio State University sports teams. If you’re born in Ohio, you’re a Buckeye. If you grow up in Ohio, you’re taught apocryphal Buckeye legends masquerading as Ohio History. If you go to Ohio State, you’re a Buckeye. If you root for the Buckeyes, you’re a Buckeye. And if you’re a Buckeye, your heart beats a little faster when you think of the nut of the Buckeye Tree, also called a Buckeye. People carry them around for good luck. I had a whole shoebox of them as a kid, one of my prized possessions.
Photo H. Zell.
What’s so special about the Buckeye Tree? I really don’t know. Unlike most sacred trees, it has no real economic value. The flowers are not showy, the tree is not particularly handsome or tall. I wouldn’t know what the wood is good for. The nut is poisonous, though it has some obscure medicinal uses. The nut is handsome, though, at least to a Buckeye. I honestly thought there was nothing strange about the Ohio State mascot being a person dressed like a nut until I heard some non-Buckeyes snickering about it.
Photo H. Zell.
Don’t believe me that Ohioans worship the Buckeye? You’ll have to go there, and feast your eyes on the most beautiful nuts in the world.