This is, perhaps, my favorite picture from a cemetery I visited last June outside Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
I’ve looked at this picture a dozen times. With each viewing, I imagine the slow creep of this tree’s bark. The bark engulfs the gravestone. To me, it signifies the slow creep of time. The slow creep of time that eventually engulfs our life histories. Sure enough, time (the tree’s bark) will eventually complete its encapsulation.
I wonder what will happen if the tree falls one day only to be covered by leaves and mud. Given the correct heat and pressure and moisture, will the tree eventually become petrified wood?
A tree becoming rock.
After engulfing a gravestone.
Of a man who died.
After living a full and glorious life.
The tree, which engulfs the gravestone, protects the gravestone for millennia.
The idea gives me chillbumps.
And, then, I look at the picture again. I notice a detail I’ve not seen before in the lower left corner. The fern fronds are SO delicate. So delicate in contrast to the unrelenting force of this gravestone…slowly being engulfed.