Friday, April 15, 2011
Single Tree Safari
It all began at my great-grandmother's feet, she being a Cherokee beyond a 100 years of age. At this stage in her life her day consisted of upbraiding her long silver hair, brushing it out, braiding it again...all while entertaining us with her stories.
Through her I found out that her Anglicised name of Singletary was rooted in a more ancient Cherokee name of Single Tree. Many visits to the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, where my family roots held firm for many centuries, to the plains of Oklahoma and New Mexico, where some of the family dispersed through the Trail of Tears, I began to explore what it meant to be Cherokee.
I've always been drawn to the image of a single tree standing out among its surroundings. Perhaps it's my ancient ancestral call, our my identity to clinging to life and standing firm amongst the storms that surround it, or better yet, the majestic sculpture of nature reaching towards the heavens while being firmly grounded in the earth.
To this day on Highway 45 as you drive towards my home town of Fairfield, Illinois, there's a single tree on a bend that greets my warrior cry every time I pass it. Like me, its a bit older, but fuller with life. Unlike me, and with a little luck, it will continue to stand after the last time I pass it in this life.
Live oaks are one of my most special trees. The drive from Charleston, South Carolina to Kiawah Island is like driving through natures cathedral at high mass. The ancient oaks of England also stir my soul. Perhaps that comes from the other side of my family heritage, rooted in the rolling plains and woods of Somerset in England? The Celtic British call is also powerful in my soul, like a Druid reading the entrails to see what the future holds.
This rambling all brings me to a Single Tree Safari. A rediscovery of my ancient past and a reformation of my future. This will be the title of my next CD, as well as a book to help others discover their true path in life.
The single tree has many branches, as does our life. The trick is to honor the branches as you remain rooted in your soul. Then you have the strength, courage, and ability to reach towards the heavens, regardless of what others might think or say to the contrary. That's why my Facebook Profile stats as my religion that I'm a: Zen, Cherokee, Catholic, Christian. I think I might have to add Druid now!
So, what are you roots? What are the branches in your life that you must honor?
Sir Hook the Single Tree of Warrick