Sunday, June 28, 2015

Opelousas: The Fall of a Blessed Tree

Blessed tree, Opelousas, Louisiana. June 2015.

Once upon a time, I read a magazine article by a man whose hobby was to travel to different parts of the world while history was being made in those exact parts. When the Berlin Wall fell, for example, he scooped up his kids and they flew to Berlin from the US to be witnesses.*

I've often thought about that practice, it's damn cool, but how many of us have the means to do the same? Not me.

Well, not me on such a large stage.

But I can be a witness to some historic events, and the recent fall of a blessed pecan tree was one of them. When I say blessed, I mean the Virgin Mary appeared in this tree during the 1970 and 1990s, prompting many folks to visit the backyard of a house on Larry Street, where the pecan tree stood.

Blessed tree, Opelousas, Louisiana. June 2015.

I read about the tree in this Opelousas Daily World article: A Dramatic Final Act for a Famous Local Tree, by Cheryl Devall.

I couldn't get over there for a few days, and I was a little worried that it'd be all chopped up by the time I did get there. But it wasn't, and I was even able to chat with the owner's caregiver and grown daughter.

Blessed tree, Opelousas, Louisiana. June 2015.

And the daughter let me take a stick that came from the blessed tree. Personally, I don't put much truck in these kinds of things, but I don't demean them, either. Blessed sticks are no less magical than nutritional supplements, juicing cleanses, or Warren Buffett, and we know all those things to be holy. 

It feels good to have this stick from a tree beloved by many people, and some day I'll come across someone who needs it.  
Blessed tree, Opelousas, Louisiana. June 2015.

I like the intimacy between the sacred and mundane in the picture above - a holy tree with pretty offerings, next to a stubby, cheery barbecue grill. There's a little flavor of the magical realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude, where the impossible and the possible get along just fine.

There's nothing I can add to what the article covered, except for one thing: I asked the daughter if it had been a good pecan producer in its day, and the immediate response was a chortled no!

I am pleased to offer a cat pic (!) on this blog, thanks to the blessed tree visit. She bewitched me into taking her photo and publishing it here, that green-eyed temptress: 

Opelousas cat on Larry Street. June 2015.

*This reminds me of a sci-fi story where people from the future came to the past and rented rooms in a - let's call it a form of airbnb - house somewhere in Italy. They knew this particular house in this city in this country would have a commanding view of the sun going supernova or something, and they wanted first row seats. .... Then there's The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, one of the books from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where people can travel far (really, really far) into the future, just before the universe collapses, but have a good meal first.


Unknown said...

While doing some research I happened upon your blog. It's so lovely that you found something to appreciate in an article I wrote five years ago. Good health and joy to you.

Mzuri said...

Hello, so glad you came across this - you and I actually met once or twice, probably at Vermilionville! Maybe once at the Music and Market in Opelousas. Dancing, of course! I hope you're doing well.