Cover Photo: Pexels
“Don’t you understand what I’m sayin’,
We need a god down there.
A man to lead us children,
Take us from the valley of fear….Get on up, look around;
Can’t you feel the wind of change?
Get on up, taste the air;
Can’t you see the wind of change…” (1975) “Wind Of Change” Recorded By: Bee Gees Composers: Robin Gibb & Barry Gibb
She was on the phone with a friend at the time, looking out her open kitchen window over the sink. She had heard some windy commotions outside and wondered what was coming as the sky quickly turned the afternoon into a darkened dome. Before you could shout, “Run, Toto. Run.”, all the trees from her kitchen window view suddenly swayed and bent as if they were made of rubber. Just at that moment, her phone conversation was cut-off as a very loud “BOOM” caused her to jump right out of her apron. The clashing sound of calamity shook the entire house. It sounded as if a car slammed into the living room at the front of the house. She raced toward the sound of the crash. As she opened the front door, she was met by a wall of leaves, branches, and limbs on her front porch. The thicket was so massive, she couldn’t see through it all. Frankly, it left her stunned. At first she just froze trying to make sense of what she was looking at. After she was able to get a hold of herself, she heard voices coming from the street on the other side of the wall of vegetation.
“Is anyone injured? Are you okay in the there?”
At first she thought it humorous that someone would be yelling from the street asking if she was okay. Still not seeing the larger picture of her circumstances, the wonderment turned into a chuckle. She giggled and yelled back in response;
“Yes, I’m fine. Thank you.”
They told her she needed to find a fast way out of the residence. Thinking the comment was somewhat bizarre, she ultimately decided not to ignore the suggestion. She walked to a bedroom toward a side door of the house, which opened to the driveway, only to feel a wave of shock as she made her way outside to the front lawn. Again, a sense of frozen ice poured over her as she gazed at the green monstrosity. The last of four giant sycamore trees was uprooted and laying partially on the roof, as well as an old telephone line strung across the width of the property, keeping the full weight of the tree from damaging the house any further. (That was a God-thing.)
Photo: My mom with a cousin and a kind neighbor.
That is what happened to my mom on June 19, 2019, a little over a year ago, when a tornado made its way over her house in Greenville, Texas. She was well protected that day as the tornado touched-down in several areas leaving a wide path of destruction in its wake.
In 1955, when she was 11 years old, the family of five moved in. There, between the sidewalk and the front curb by the street, were four strategically spaced large sycamore trees which went from the east side of the front curb area, to the edge of the property on the west side. These four trees, with their over-sized leaves, ascended over the top of the telephone poles. Here in Texas, they can climb to 100 feet in height.
Photo: Sycamore – Texas A&M Forest Service
Of course, that was 1955. You can imagine how much growth there’s been throughout the following decades. However, one by one, each met the ground. Two had to be cut down many years ago, for one reason or another. Just two weeks before the tornado last year, the third gigantic sycamore was partially uprooted by powerful straight-line Texas spring winds. As it leaned on power lines, hanging over the street, the city rushed over to cut it down for safety sake. I remember my mom being somber after another old friend of lumber was hacked-up and hauled away, saying;
“Well, at least we still have one left.”
I remember not feeling optimistic at all. My mind kept going back to the uprooted tree which left its turf so easily in the wind storm. One couldn’t help but wonder if the last sycamore would show stronger roots in that small patch of ground by the curb. Alas, the tornado took advantage of the last top-heavy friendly giant.
All of my life I watched that quartet of timber grow. In the spring and summer, the shade was tremendous as it branched out much like a colossal umbrella over the lawns to the left, right, and across the street. During the fall, the 10″ golden leaves would float down like feathers, carpeting the entire property, the sidewalk, the street, and the driveway. My cousins and I would run and jump in the crunchy foliage just to listen to the loud crackling beneath us.
As I received the pictures of the downed tree, I couldn’t help but think of the loving grandparents who lived there, the countless holidays celebrated, and the sight of seeing the four sycamores greeting us as we turned the corner toward my grandparent’s house over my six decades. As a kid, I was known to jump out of the car, run up to one of the trees and shout;
“Zacchaeus, you come down!”
But, straight-line winds of hurricane force are not too unusual in Texas, and the occasional tornado will never have mercy in its path if close to the ground. They were old trees with hindered root systems, considering the narrow piece of ground they rested in between the sidewalk and the street.
Photo: The tornado pulled the old roots right out of the east Texas black clay.
You may be asking why I am writing about this event now, some 13 months after the fact. Okay, I’ll tell you.
In recent weeks America has been brutalized by COVID-19, accompanied by unnecessary brutality and murder by police officers in Minneapolis, a culture war, violence in the streets, anarchy, widespread arson, public prideful lawlessness, statues of founding fathers, and historical figures, destroyed by mobs, sacred monuments defaced, over-the-top cancel culture targeting places, people, emblems, labels, businesses (big and small), police defunded, assaulted and murdered, (even efforts to remove the police as public servants, even as violence grows). Once accomplished, who will we call when the next school mass shooting event occurs? Once accomplished, will a social worker arrive to calm the next mass church shooter as he reloads his AK-47?
!!! WHAT ARE WE DOING TO OURSELVES?
Then there are Marxists pushing their far-leftist ideology into the mainstream, tyrannical thought-judges are now in vogue, even Jesus is being attacked. Anarchists, and those who have had closet hostility toward America, seem to be free to do what they please. By the way, it’s worth noting, if you’re a small business owner, look out! Extinction is possible if they get their way. Some politicians are making excuses for it all, or looking the other way without denouncing the violence. Such politicians are not worthy to hold an office. Socialist radicals are ready to disassemble the Constitution, as well as, the Bill Of Rights this country was built on. All of this, and more, within just a few weeks.
If you are an American citizen ignoring what this nation has been going through, keep in mind, you just might be “wished away” by a mob of puppets who want to uproot and remove you, your property, your livelihood, your beliefs, and your government of liberty quicker than a Texas tornado. Once accomplished, your life, and the lives of your descendants, will never be the same. The wind of change is something the Jews in Nazi Germany can tell you about, if they were here to testify. Ancient kingdoms were written about in the Bible, along with historical records in museums, only because you no longer can visit their cultures due to the winds of change. They have been uprooted and removed. Sure, we can leave fairly impressive architecture behind us, just like the Mayans who vanished. Is that what we want? Are we inviting these mobs of unrest to crush the roof over our heads? Really?
How strong ARE our roots? Do I sound like an alarmist? Maybe I am.
Photo: A hoisting crane holding up the tree as the arborist slices from the top downward. The roots pulled up part of the sidewalk, no longer pedestrian friendly.
When I was maybe 12 years old, my grandparents gave me a patriotic album. I still have it in a box in my garage. It was highly unique in that John Wayne recorded these stirring poems about America and her citizens. (By the way, John Wayne is now under attack by the cancel culture.) It was called, “America, Why I Love Her” (1972). By today’s standards the project might sound a bit corny. It is very much red, white, and blue. Nevertheless, it is very well done, shellacked with stirring poetry, delivered perfectly by the rustic actor. One of the cuts on the album is called, “Mis Raices Estan Aqui (My Root Are Buried Here)” You can type it into Google for a quick listen. I don’t want to give it all away, but I will say something about it here. It speaks of the roots of a citizen, firmly planted in the soil of America, the America with all her bumps, bruises, and smudges. It speaks well of the love for country, property, her enduring make-up, and her documents which publishes our liberties. I would like to believe the roots are not shallow.
With all that is currently blowing upon this nation and her branches, one might ask about the depth of the roots. Could it be too many complacent ones are not seeing the forest for the trees? One might wonder if the root system has been hindered on all sides. One might even go so far as to inquire; have the recent vortex down-bursts leveled irreversible damage? When the face masks come off, will there be a sinister grin, or a look of fortitude in righteousness? Ask yourself this question….Will we fall for anything?
The value of liberty, which shades all Americans, is well spoken of in fuel for the race.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.” Jeremiah 17: 7-8 (NAS)