This is one of the first stories that I ever wrote. We had an old cottonwood tree that sat in the creek next to the road as you come into the house. It had a lot of character and for some reason it meant a lot to people. That cottonwood was cut down when they built the power line to the Wind Farm. Just the stump remains to remind us of the way it used to be.


Vaya Con Dios

The Eclectic Cowboy

Winfield Davenport

The Cottonwood


Lord, as I look up at this old cottonwood tree, it reminds me of you.  Early in the morning at the first hint of light, I look up and see turkeys roosting high up in the branches of this old tree.  They start Gobbling.  Just singing praises to you for protecting them during the dark of the night.  I look at the gnarled old trunk and I am reminded that you have been severely wounded by the sins that I have done.  But you accepted those sins just as this cottonwood has accepted the harshest of weather and survived.  I hear your voice as the wind blows through the leaves of this old tree.  It tells me of how much you love me.  It also reminds me of where I have failed you and invites me to come home.  To sit under your shade because, even on the hottest of days when Satan is turning up the heat, your shade will cool and protect me.  I look at the ground that serves as a foundation under this tree holding it rock solid and I am reminded that your word is my foundation keeping me steady during stormy weather.  This old tree's roots tap into the underground river that has supplied nourishment for many years just as your living water has provided nourishment for mankind for centuries.


As I look around, I see other trees.  There is the ever present mesquite tree.  It is so green and inviting.  I take a closer look.  The leaves are so small.  They provide little in the way of shade.  The branches are covered with thorns.  To seek protection in this tree can only be done at a price.  Then there is the salt cedar, it grows on the creek banks too but it offers little protection and comfort.  In fact it chokes out the cottonwood causing it to wither and die.  These trees remind me that when we let sin take over our lives it chokes you out Lord, so that all that is left is the pain and suffering that we have to endure since you are not there to take that away from us.


I look around again and notice all of the animals that call this tree home.  Among the branches frolic the blue jay and squirrel.  On the ground the rabbit and deer also play.  But, as in life, there is hardship.  Lurking in the shadows is the coyote and bobcat.  Soaring up above is the buzzard and hawk.  They wait for the unsuspecting victim to give them nourishment.  This reminds me that even though we have you in our lives we still have to be vigilant and recognize the dangers of the world around us.  We can depend on you to protect us, but we have to seek you in order to get that protection.


As in all things around us, all we have to do is look closely and we will see the meaning that you have in our lives.  You made us special so that we have the opportunity to get closer to you, to seek you, to pull away from you.  It is our choice to make.  The only one who suffers from our choices is us unless we allow you to take our suffering from us.


Lord, when life gets hard and day starts to turn to night help me up high in your branches.  Protect me like the turkeys in that old cottonwood so that I will be able to Gobble, singing your praises at the first hint of light.


Winfield Davenport

June 1999