Fri. Jan. 21

Quote for the day:

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

-Ayn Rand

Pay no attention to what the critics say; there has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic. -Jean Sibelius

Today’s Proverb:

When a mocker is punished, the inexperienced become wiser; when one teaches a wise man, he acquires knowledge.

Proverbs 21:11

Wisdom involves learning from others:  Being teachable.  Learning from warnings (mistakes of others) as well as examples (wisdom from observing/listening to the wise.

He >  me       and I < Him.

What does this mean to you?  It’s tied in to John 3:30

This is the opening of my latest book, Deep Roots:

Stories about the things that really matter.

Come to the woods, for here is rest.

-John Muir

Sketch of the 'Deep Roots' Beech Tree, Crooked Bayou Swamp/ Dry Creek, LA

The things that matter aren’t really things.

It’s because the things that matter in life are often unseen. They cannot be measured or placed in a bank account. Sometimes, they’re even difficult to describe.

Like the deep roots of the tall trees of my beloved Louisiana woods, the things that matter are often deep and unseen. Yet, they give a lasting silent strength.

I recall a long ago trip to one of my favorite trees while hunting with my youngest son Terry. Leaving our deer stand in Crooked Bayou swamp, we made a detour to this special spot.

We arrived at a huge beech tree, surrounded by fallen dead limbs. This old tree was dying, as evidenced by its bare trunk and remaining leafless limbs. This was my first visit this hunting season, and I was shocked at how the tree deteriorated. I wondered if this was the mighty tree’s final year.

I pointed out to Terry what made this beech tree so special. Carved about four feet high was:




“F.I.” was my great-grandfather, Frank Iles, and “L.I.” was my grandfather, Lloyd Iles. On a hunting trip of their own over seventy-six years ago, they had carved their initials on this tree. On that Friday in 1921, my great-grandfather was thirty-six, his son was ten, and the tree was already old. It was the queen of the swamp.

However, soon it will be gone.

On this day, my son and I were close to the respective ages of my beloved ancestors. A sense of deep roots overwhelmed me. It was a special moment with my son as we stood on land that had been in our family since the nineteenth century.

Another emotion also overwhelmed me—the feeling of how quickly life comes and goes. Each time I’ve stood at this tree, I’m reminded of the certainty of life passing right before our eyes.

Yes, time passes by so quickly—and life’s limbs fall to the ground as sure as the cold November wind blows. What precious gifts we have been given—this gift of life, the wonderful gift of family—both past and present, and for me, the gift of an old beech tree deep in Crooked Bayou swamp. A family tree with deep roots.

This piece of bark is all that's left of the beech tree in Crooked Bayou Swamp. Life, just like a tall tree, passes by so quickly.

A reminder of the things that really matter.

So come into the woods with me for these stories.

Stories of family, faith, and friends.

Stories from the woods, as well as stories of the woods.

Stories of the deep-rooted things that really matter.

Curt Iles

Dry Creek, Louisiana

November 2010






My mom and dad's beech tree: CI and MP Clayton Iles and Mary Plott. They married in 1953 so this marking is nearly 60 years old.

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