Old Rueben sat on his porch and looked down the long lane. He could see the ancient oak tree at the intersection of the lane, and the country road used by the mailman on his long route. Although Rueben was eighty-two years of age, he knew the oak tree was a lot older. If only it could talk, it would tell of a beginning about ten years before the civil war.
The enduring tree was just a sprout when slaves still worked the nearby fields, and wild animals roamed the forest in which it lived. As the years passed, it was threatened by storms and fire only to survive and provide branches for many birds, acorns for the squirrels, and a cool shade for the traveler along the road. For a while, there was a swing someone attached to its huge branches for the interludes of young lovers in the Georgia moonlight. Of course, there were the countless picnics and family reunions in the shade of the old oak tree.
As the old man ruminated on the ageless tree, his mind took him back to his childhood. He, too, had climbed its branches and daydreamed about the far away places he wanted to go and things he planned to do when he was older. Well, the abstractions or releases from reality were just that. As time passed, Reuben determined he did not need to travel across the world; however, rather, he moved as an itinerate preacher along the back roads and byways of the South.
As he gazed at the old tree, he was reminded of the scripture:
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. - Revelation 2:7
By William C. Highsmith - March 31, 2012