Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: Tree Visits
By Gini Branch
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I visited a tree one time. Who visits trees? Well, I did, this time anyway. This particular tree, a live oak, had sprouted from its modest acorn shell about the time Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem. Two thousand years of time and history had flowed by this tree and I wanted to be part of it.
The tree was just a sapling when a moccasin clad man stalked a white tail deer that had stopped to graze on its leaves. The skilled huntsman claimed the deer and gave a reprieve to the struggling sapling. Did this tree watch De Vaca, De Soto, or some other explorer when he came to the New World? Don’t know for sure, but its shade is surely an invitation to linger. It would have been maybe ten feet tall then. Years later, this tree stood witness as Conestoga wagons carried the meager possessions of those who trekked west seeking a new life. Chuck wagon cooks prepared meals beside it for the cowhands driving the longhorn herds to market. Justice was often meted out beneath this tree whose strong limbs could support the weight of a man. Circuit riding preachers held outdoor revival services in the shade of this now mature tree. The steam engine that moved cotton and cattle east and north to a growing nation hissed to a stop not far from here. The Model T rumbled and sputtered by it. Couples in Edsels pulled off the road to picnic at the rest area established around the tree’s base. Initials of those lovers are still visible as scars in the bark. Did their love last as long as these scars? Space shuttle debris fell in a pasture nearby not long ago. A nation mourned the lost crew. Jets bound for Houston fly over its crown hourly now.
Native Americans, immigrants from Spain, France, Mexico, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean nations, from Arab and Asian nations passed by as this tree matured. All people and all the ages had passed before its presence, in a biblical sort of way. I had become part of this tree’s history as well now. I gazed at it lost in thought of all it had witnessed, of all the lives that were connected because of this tree. Quietly a voice said to me “You are a part of another, greater history, one that encompasses all time and beyond. There’s another tree I used to create that connection. Look at it.”
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