One of the projects from yesterday was to plant a new tree. I’ve been needing to put some trees on the lot next door for a while now and I just haven’t found what I wanted. I suppose one of the criteria is that it be a tree connected with my past.
As a child, traveling to Comanche was a big adventure. It, like St John the town I now live in, has a big square in the middle of town with the courthouse. On the corner of the square was a massive live oak tree known as the Fleming Oak. In the 1850’s “Uncle” Marty Fleming and his father William were driving freight wagons through the region before Comanche was settled. They camped under the live oak tree that is located now in the middle of town. In 1861 he learned of the Civil War while visiting in town and enlisted in Co G of the 1st Texas Calvary under the tree. After the war he eventually settled in Comanche as a stockman and had a meat market across the street from the live oak tree.
In 1911 the city was going to remove all the trees from the square in a community improvement project, while paving the streets. Uncle Mart reportedly ran the paving crew off with a shotgun saving the “Fleming Oak” that remains on the square to this day.
Now, what do you care? The answer is, you really don’t. It is just an old story about a little town you’ve never been to. But in my yard I have a new oak tree because of a story about an old oak tree.
Stories have huge power. They are told, repeated, quoted, and flash through our minds when triggered by trees, songs, or certain words. We retell them to our children, reflect on them in quiet times, and picture the events with our minds filling in the details.
Uncle Mart died in 1928 about the time my father was born, but his story lives on. I took my son Orrin and his wife Meagan to the Fleming Oak the last time we were in Comanche and told them the tale. I don’t know that it had the impact it did on me as a child, but the story continues.
We could talk about another tree 2000 years ago or an empty tomb and immediately your mind would fill in the details. The power of the story remains because it has been told and retold, and the message has power today.
I planted a particular type of tree because of a story from the mid 1800’s long ago in Texas.
How much more importantly have you been influenced by a tree roughly cut down, hewn into beams, and drug through Jerusalem?