First, if we all haven’t seen Mad Max, then we should stop reading, go see it, and then come back. Just Sayin’.
Second, I got an inkling of a story while passing Cave Hill Cemetary on my way to work. It’s on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and if you ever come through Kentucky, it’s a beautiful place to visit. Chartered in 1848, it has a Civil War burial section, as well as offering walking tours. Anyways, enough history lesson and on with the fiction!
May 16, 2015
It stood, almost a lone sentinel. All the others gone by decay or age. There were only five others around the meadow. The house was long gone, but the stone markers were still there. A few of them nearly covered with weeds and wild strawberry plants.
The two nearest to it were slowly dying. It could feel their strained life. Not enough moisture these days, or nutrients, and no human souls came by anymore. But it didn’t much care, for it had stood for a hundred years, and it would stand longer. Proud. Healthy. It knew others would grow eventually; seeds dropped by the birds or the wind.
It still remembered the day he came. It was growing through a tight space between two flat stones. It had not much life left, as the dry, stamped down earth offered no room for it to flourish. He’d knelt, a looming shadow, and traced a finger over the trembling leaves. It had only six then. He said, You’ll never hope to grow here. With a stick and his fingers, he gently dug, unearthing the shallow roots.
It could remember the short-lived panic as it left the earth. But the panic was for naught. It soon found itself in a new home. Dark soil, full of all life, encased it. It could breathe again. There were towering ones nearby that gave encouragement. And always, him. He watered and sang, and when it grew big enough, he sat beneath it.
There were long stretches of time when he went away. It would wonder if he’d return, sometimes thinking that he wouldn’t, only to be happy when he did. As the decades passed, the man spent more and more time among his stone fortress, among his fields, and always the majestic oak tree.
When the General passed, surrounded by family, they buried him at the foot of his favorite tree.
And so it stood, proudly watching over the one who saved him.