Outside my door on Neches street, to the east and down the road about 50 yards, is Concord, which runs north and south. Concord connected CR 2010 to Cherry street, which loops around to form a trapezoid of sorts. (Shapes are hard for me to describe. Check out THIS FROM MAPQUEST...just zoom in a little. It's a small town, your bound to find it.)
Where Concord meets Cherry once stood a giant oak tree in the middle of the road, with limbs hovering high above the houses on each side. When I was young someone decided to chop that tree down. It evidently turned out to be a bigger project than expected, as all they could get down was the top of the tree, leaving a six-foot tall stump in it's place for years to come.
The winter of 1983 was the coldest of my life. It was below freezing from just past Christmas until the end of January, causing Lake Palestine to freeze over. Back then there was still a lot of water in the lake and I remember cars driving across it for fun.
I was eight.
The thing I most remember about that winter is the snowman some people built around that stump at the end of Concord. It was massive, rising above the actual stump around two to three feet. It was indomitable, greeting those brave enough to be driving around with it's ominous presence, almost acting as a gatekeeper to our neighborhood.
The phrase "roots run deep" carries significant meaning for many. It does for me. I love that the tree-choppers didn't have adequate tools to wipe out all evidence of that old oak. It lingered for many years, reminding us that, as Rich Mullins sang, we are not as strong as we think we are.
Yet eventually someone in Chandler finally discovered fire. I was in high school and driving home one day when I noticed the charred remains of that old stump clinging to the ground. Even as a young person this angered me. Perhaps to a fault, I've always been someone who wants things to remain the same. (Someone once called me the "advocate for the way things were.") I mourned the loss of that old stump for years.
The corner of Concord and Cherry is wide. There is a patch of asphalt where the stump stood. Because of this the tree refuses to give up ground, as it reminds us that even though nothing is there, something once was. But eventually someone will repave all the streets and all evidence of that old tree will be gone.
This is why I write. I write as an advocate for that tree.