“In the pines, in the pines,
where the sun never shines.”
-Traditional Southern Folk Song
A month ago, I walked through my tree farm in Dry Creek. A hot control fire had recently roared through killing small trees, bushes, and briars. All that was left was a dead barren landscape.
This prescribed burn, set by my brother-in-law and nephew, had burned the field clean.
But that was a month ago. This past Easter Sunday, I made another visit. Hundreds of green “grassy stage” long leaf pines poked up from the ground.
Scanning my field, one word came to mind. Resurrection.
Easter is all about resurrection. It’s about belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. New life from what appeared dead and useless. Rebirth. Resurrection.
My longleaf pines hadn’t just survived the fire; they were thriving. They are adapted to live in fire and actually rely on it for survival. Fire kills competing plants, and young trees, in the grassy stage, survive the flames.
Longleaf pines are native to the Southeastern US coastal plain, once covering much of Louisiana. The coming of the sawmills in the late 19th century and the resulting cutover spelled the end of these vast pine tracts, called savannahs.
Modern reforestation programs planted loblolly pines, which grow faster than the slow-growing longleaf.
I inherited this plot of land from my Dad, who’d inherited it from his grandmother, who’d inherited it from her parents. I feel a deep sense of legacy as I walk through these young pines.
Daddy’s grandmother, my beloved great-grandma, shared told stories of the tall longleafs blowing in the breeze and the thick pine straw that muffled the sound of wagon wheels.
So with those stories in mind, I planted my acreage in longleaf pine. It was a work of love, and it was work. It took three plantings to get a proper stand of longleafs.
Walking toward Crooked Bayou, I can hear the wind in those long ago majestic pines.
It makes me think of resurrection.
It’s a good word.
Dry Creek, Louisiana