Welcome Yall!

Hopefully, from time to time, I can share thoughts, experiences and photos from my part of the world. It will usually be opionated, hopefully interesting, or at least funny, and always SOUTHERN.

I make no apoligies for any of the above. I thank everyone for their input and feed back. I praise God. You see, I am proudly an American by birth, but thankfully a Southerner by the grace of God.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Keeping your roots...........................................

It's been quite some time since the last post. I've had a birthday. My Grandson had a birthday. Spring arrived. The next day it snowed and sleeted. I learned early in the month that a childhood friend was ill. I hadn't seen him in several years. Not since our last, joint high school reunion. He was a year younger than I, but we knew each other for many years. We were in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers, M.Y.F. We played summer league baseball on the same team. In our teenage years we were in a rock band. He was our drummer, maintaining our tempo and providing quite a bit of the vocals. I was and still am a terrible musician. But, I love it as much today as then. The rest of the band was quite talented. I still think I loved the time we spent together in a band more than the rest of the band members. I was, and am grateful they tolerated my participation.

My friend had become a dentist, raised a family and recently celebrated the birth of his first grand child. Two days after I learned of his illness I was informed of his death. His passing evoked memories that reinforced my belief that I grew up during a great era in a wonderful community. The only way I can describe it's effect on my life, is to show these photos and relate their similarities.

Double click the photo to enlarge.

The plaque tells an amazing story. On the campus of the Gulf Coast branch of the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach, stands a tremendous symbol of life, growth and survival. The Friendship Oak is over 500 years old. Imagine the hurricanes, storms, and droughts it has endured. This tree is massive in size, sprawling in girth, and far reaching with it's root system. Though it easily covers a block, it is not proportionally tall. You would expect a tree this old to tower hundreds of feet. Instead it's growth is outward and inward. Largely in an area that is not visible.

Double click the photo to enlarge.

The photo above shows it's statue from quite a distance away.

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The huge branches reach out, sometimes down, and ultimately terminate in a luscious green enveloping canopy. Looking up at this living marker of history is an amazing experience. What I am constantly overwhelmed with is it's root system. The anchoring branches known as roots are far more intricate and far reaching than are visible or even imaginable. They are overlapping, meandering, and constantly searching for moisture to maintain it's life, to continue it's growth and strengthen it's existence. How does it know? Even though it's on a college campus, it's never had a formal education. No one trained it. It didn't have a life coach. The nature of it's existence is to search for the moisture to supply it growth and to anchor it's base.

Double click the photo to enlarge.

The root system is the anchor, just like my formative years. Just like my time spent learning with my friend. Each time I think of my youth, I realize how blessed I was. I am so thankful for being who I was, when I was, and where I was. My friend, just like all the others who influenced me, (and there were many) were my root system. My anchor. Building base. The terms are infinitesimal.

I have mourned the loss of my friend and the passing of one of those roots. The loss has caused much reflection and reminiscing. It has brought even more prayers of thanksgiving. I can not undo the time that has passed, but I can take action to reconnect. To, graft some roots. I plan to visit our home town, and try to make contact with more of those roots. I feel compelled to tell them what they did for me and how much they have meant through my life.

I guess in short I need to.................... KEEP MY ROOTS WET.