Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Floodgates Are Open

The waters are getting close.  I can feel it in my roots.  People are rushing to save their belongings.  I watch in amazement as they meet atop the Atchafalaya Levee and pray together.  I am proud to know these people.  They are strong.  They are survivors.  They understand and respect nature more than most.  God will be gentle.

It's never been God that I doubted, but man.  And not all humans, but the ones with no compassion for others.  The ones that have to put others down or hurt them.  The narcissist.  The kind who thinks he's above others.

So, back to my story...After the lady started staying here and I watched the man closer, I began to notice odd little things about him.  He offered the beautiful lady a place to stay, but left her daughter in the flooded house with no place to go.  She would drop by here to visit her Mom, but mostly when the man was away.  They often sat out beneath my limbs and talked.

There was two foot of water in the house the girl stayed in.  She would wade to the stairs after work and sleep upstairs.  In the mornings, she would wade out, walk half a mile to her car then drive an hour to college.  He never offered her a place to stay.  He basically acted like she didn't exist.  Luckily, after awhile, the girl found a house to rent.  Funny that when the lady loaned the girl a radio that belonged to the man, he was mad.  She thought that since the girl had no tv or radio...and no one used that one, it would be ok.  She was embarrassed but forced to ask for it to be returned.

He was very protective of his things.  They made a deal after she sold her house, they would build a building to share.  She could have studio/craft space and he would have a workshop.  She put in her money only to have padlocks put on the doors.  She was only allowed to enter if he went with her.

He removed her tools from the house and locked them up.  He screened the phone calls, even unplugged the phones for days at a time without her knowing.  And things just got worse and worse.

From the outside looking in, everything seemed fine.  They covered well.  When people were around, he doted on her...people were fooled, but not this old oak tree.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Atchafalaya is Knocking #4

The Atchafalaya is knocking on our door.  They are forecasting a historic flood.  When they open the Morganza Spillway, waters from the Mighty Mississip will wrap around me.  How high?  For how long?  No one knows.

So, as I contemplate what's to come, I'd like to go back to my story.  I will leave the water worries to the Good Lord.  My life is his.

One day, much to my delight, the lady showed up with a few bags in hand.  She was going to stay here for awhile while the man worked offshore.  It turns out that she had her own home but because of floodwaters, she would stay there with him.  Before that, he would stay with her when he was around.  Now they would both stay there together.

He offered room and board.  She offered to take care of the house and yard and to fix things up.  From the outside, they looked like a happy, even cute couple.  When alcohol is added to the picture, it's not quite what it looks like from the outside. 

She was out in the yard most of the time, digging in flower beds, or fishing, or feeding birds.  Her two daughters would visit and I enjoyed the life they brought to the place.  The air was filling up with love.   The man came in on occassion but then usually headed to the duck camp.  I was always relieved when he was gone.  I dreaded to see the dark side of him that came out with enough alcohol.

It was little things, at first, that made me doubt him.  Isn't that the way they work though?  Through the years it gets darker, uglier, more evil...until...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

#3 I Was Lonely

Yes, I was lonely.  Although there were many animals and birds around, even though people passed by, I was lonely.   Beneath my arms sat an old fishing camp.  It was small and it was quiet.  It was used for a shelter for fishermen...a hideaway of a sort.  It contained no beauty and it held no love.  That is what made me feel sad.  That's what made me feel lonely.

The man who owned that little camp started to visit more often.  He was an odd fellow, really quiet and almost detached.  It turned out that his marriage was over and he moved here to his camp.  Still, with work offshore and all of his other activities, he wasn't here much at all.  Work, saltwater fishing, hunting, deep sea diving...he was always on the go.

And then there was that one day that changed me forever...the day SHE came to visit.  As she stepped out of the car, I saw her first barefoot touch the grass.  Next I noticed the sun catching her beautiful blond hair.  She got out of the car and took in everything.

When I say everything, I don't mean the value or size of the camp.  She noticed REAL things.  She saw the trees.  She noticed the signs of squirrels.  She saw a nest with a mother nesting.  She heard the frogs and the crickets.  She immediately gave something to this place.  I later learned that it was love.

She would come by from time to time to take care of the place.  I longed to see her step out of that car.  If only I had known how it would end, I would have wished her away from here that very first day.  She was just too important to this world.  She was just too special.  She deserved better.  But instead, she gave, she gave her life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

#2 People come and people go

I've seen many people during my lifetime.  They were interesting to watch and often entertaining.  They were often just passers-by out fishing or hunting but I usually enjoyed watching them.  I never really had the opportunity to grow close to any of them, much less to love one, until one day SHE came into my life.

To her, I was much more than a tree.  Beyond the shade and spanish moss, she saw me...for me.  She used to sit here, under my limbs.  Others would complain of the mess I made when I lost limbs or leaves, but not her.  She talked to me.  She understood that I was old.  She thanked me for being shelter to so many. Yes, she was special.

I sure will miss her until the day I die. No one has seen me like that since she went away.  I sure do hope that God lets trees into Heaven because I'd follow that lady anywhere.

#1 I have no eyes, but I can see...

I have no eyes, for I'm only a tree, but that doesn't mean that I cannot see.  Sometimes eyes just aren't enough and you have to see with your heart, even your soul.  Often, we see with our emotions.  Sometimes we see in our dreams.  God shows us but we have to choose to pay attention.

I'd like to share with you some things I've seen during my 300 years on this Earth.  I've spent these years watching, listening and feeling.  I've survived many storms and I'm scarred.  I am reaching the end of my time here but I'd like to say some things before I go.  I welcome you to sit beneath my limbs and visit for awhile.