Caussey's Corner

El Arbol de Sombra de Tejas: The Texas Shadow Tree

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But the metal men look for riches in the ground and care little for those who live from the land. Nations of people disappear into the mist of the past, lost to violence and disease brought by the pale-skinned men.

Eons pass, and the missions disappear down the path of the indigenous ones. A few cling to the banks or rivers, but most fall into decay and wanton neglect.

The wind comes in the mornings, and plays the strings of the heart while my limbs dance to the melody from the musical leaves. By night, as the particles of the evening settle across the prairie, doves cuddle and coo in the high top branches. Their wings reflect the golden color of the moon. Frogs from the riverbank herald tidings as waves of winged creatures fly in hordes of mass to and fro among the coastal grass pods and infectious cattails.

El Arbol de Sombra de Tejas: The Texas Shadow Tree


Nearby, a wagon train has circled, lighting their fires and adding the smells of cooked bacon and coffee to the night air. The fiddle and the banjo serenade strange voices from foreign lands that linger over their Conestogas, pausing only to allow the nighthawk to be heard. The noise and celebrations remind me of another people who once called this land home. But they are gone now, like the buffalo who once fed in abundance across the tidal basin on tall coastal grasses.

It is near midnight as two lone figures move in silence from the wagons toward me. They scurry like field mice but with a seriousness based on determination. They are young and filled with hopes and dreams of this rich land. I hear him whisper to her. Her response is cradled in soft laughter. The moon smiles through shadowy branches. And I, the stately mesquite tree who had lived for centuries and watched the world go by, tremble with the excitement of their love. Just as I have trembled when I think of the love I have for this land now called Texas.

Above my head toward the darkened void there is a banquet of stars hungry for the morning. The feast will begin with the serving of the sun. In years to come, Texas will change as people and places come and go. But feelings for this place will not. As long as there is the calling of the coyote along the bleak canyon rocks and the fragrances of prairie grasses, and the eagle allowed to soar on gentle gulf port breezes, then my spirit and those of countless others like me will be pasted in the memory book of Texas legend.

Originally published in the Fall Issue of Heart of Texas Magazine.


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