by Kevin S. Hendrick
Buried deep within the vast rolling hills of my parent’s Angus cattle farm, a lone gum tree rests gently within the tall grass. They’re quite common in the Floyd County area and other surrounding areas, but there’s something so much more to its appearance. This particular tree has been around for over three generations and has survived many severe wind, snow, and violent thunderstorms. It has braced the weight of many cows, who have found comfort in its soothing bark, which provides a great remedy for the cattle if they feel an itch coming. It has seen many seasons change, and it has provided a safe haven for both my mother and me during times when we’ve needed some time to be alone for a while. It’s a peaceful place filled with much history and a sense of welcoming invitation. That’s what made me think one day about the qualities within ourselves. I also thought of the other trees in the surrounding forest nearby. It made me realize this comparison again to ourselves and the features within our soul and well-being. You’ve heard of the lone wolf, but what about this? The lone tree? Are we much like the other trees of the surrounding forest? All alike and not very inviting? Or are we unique like this lone gum tree? Out in the open, peaceful, strong-willed, and empowered with a voice reasoning? There’s nothing wrong with being yourself, but what if you could be so much more in this life? Much like this tree, there’s something special it holds, and that I believe is true spirit. Is your spirit true? Are you the very best you can be? Always keep trying more and bettering yourself. Become the lone tree, become the symbol of unique inspiration and quality. Of course, much of these qualities will come from within, so start believing you can become something extraordinary and start believing in yourself again. Along with this, too, I present a poem based on this lone tree.
It’s felt like I’ve seen it over and over;
As this world’s grown colder.
The winds have stripped it bare.
The dark past has left its mark up there.
Though in that imperfection is beauty.
The truth of whispering winds and serenity.
A strong fortified hand;
Standing still at that wind’s command.
I was never afraid up there;
Even if the wind had stripped it bare.
On that hill rests a promise untold.
With a past of reasoning left to hold.