The Autobiography of Texas
She’s stood with us through far longer than we’ve stood with her.
When the Union soldiers destroyed everything,
When one hurricane after another ripped through,
Each time one flag was lowered and another raised in its place,
When the floods raged and wildfires blazed
Like a proper Texas lady
No one knows her exact age.
A thousand years some say.
Others insist she’s at least two.
Her trunk is strong and thick
Like a proud old grandmother
Whose body is wrinkled and bent
With life and wind and time.
She’s not as thin as she used to be when she was a girl.
Her waist has an embarrassing circumference of 35 feet
Because she has injested Texas,
Completely taking in the Lone Star.
And Texas is big, like she is.
She stands tall,
Rising forty-five feet up into the wide Texas sky,
And her Big Texas crown spreads out over ninety feet
Like a marvelous beehive created
on a lazy Saturday afternoon
in the busy beauty parlor of a small Texas town,
Readying herself for goin’ to Meeting on Sunday.
She knows everyone.
She knows their mamas.
She knows you.
She remembers when you were just knee high to a grasshopper
And when you sat beneath her shade with a book and a glass of sweet tea,
and you dreamed of what you’d some day become.
This summer has been hard on her.
Her limbs are dry and her leaves are brown.
She’s dying now.
Not because she’s weak
Or even worn out.
Because she thirsts,
And there is nothing to drink.
But her children still love her,
Children who swung under her branches
And dreamed of being firefighters
While relaxing in her shade.
They grew up
Made their dreams come true,
They now wear boots and hats,
And her children fight for her,
Drenching her with one small sip of water
(13,000 gallons, the equivilent of a 1/2 inch of rain)
To cool her weary soul.
These brave fighters fight with her,
Depriving themselves of water
To save her
So that they too might see their daughters
Marry their sweethearts
Under the shade of the
Aged Big Tree
of Rockport Texas.