In The Harmony Tree, an old grandmother oak tree is spared when loggers come through and clear-cut a forest. Grandmother Oak finds herself alone until new houses start showing up on the land, along with new trees. Grandmother Oak tries to make friends with these trees, but they are shallow and focused only on themselves. As Grandmother Oak shares her stories and how she came to have such deep roots, she finds hope and healing.
The other trees, seeing the value of Grandmother Oak’s history with the land, begin to find strength too. The inspiration for this story comes from the author’s own fifty-acre farm, where all the virgin trees were logged except for a large, white oak tree that sat at the top of a hill. Randy Woodley, says, “I was always grateful the loggers left that one 300-year-old tree for us to enjoy.” That and the tragic circumstances that caused the Woodleys to lose their land and farm just because they were Native Americans inspired Randy to write this story. Under such circumstances, Randy wondered, “How could this one tree bring about healing and friendship in the world? If we can change our minds about our current views of progress, ecology, and the relationship between settler and host peoples, then maybe that one grandmother oak tree, left uncut, offers some hope for everyone.”