The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The American Elm

I am sitting in the spring time shade of the Survivor Tree in Oklahoma City. The old elm tree that witnessed such a dark and horrible part of our nation’s history is beginning to bloom. It is whistling and dancing in the ever present Oklahoma wind. If this old tree wasn’t such an element of the human spirit, I think it would be a great climbing tree. The base is forked and the trunk goes two opposite ways. On one part of the trunk, children could test themselves rather easily by ascending the gentle slope. The other part of the trunk would be the part of the tree that would take a little more skill, a little more bravery. Yeah, I could definitely see children lining up to climb this tree, but sadly no one climbs the tree.

Instead, the tree is set apart from every other tree in the world. It represents all that is good and all that is bad in our country and our world. It is a modern day tree of knowledge set in a one block radius of a fallen world.

A fallen world in which two ordinary people turn into monsters.

A different world that began the course of fear that our country will most likely live in until the end of time.

Somewhere along the way, we began to feel less safe.

Now I am standing up now, and as I look over the reflecting pool down below, the water dances above the black granite with the wind. I wonder how a place that represents such evil and violence, now can seem so tranquil. The birds have seemed to found this national park and made it their own. I see a robin perched up on a piece of old rebar, all bent from the explosion and rusty from twelve years of rain, looking and chirping. Except for the occasional plane flying over head, the entire place seems devoid of sound.

I sit here and I wonder all these things. Asking the same questions that people have been asking since that April day, and just like them, I find no answers. I find no answers into why bad things happen to good people.

But as a few more people pass by, I notice them reaching out and touching the tree. They rub their fingers down the bark a few times and slowly look up at the top. One older woman touches the tree for a moment and then wipes away a tear from her eye. She looks up at the twisted branches and all the knots and begins to smile.

And that is the answer.

The monsters, the darkness and all that evil are all in us somewhere. Somewhere buried deep down in our souls in the ugliness, but like the tree, we can over come all that repulses us. Our spirit is a spirit of survival. Our spirit soars when it should not, in the face of the horror. We cope. We make it. We still believe.


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