The Louisiana pilgrimage took me, quite by accident, to another sacred place: The Tree of Life. At least that is how the Ambassador of Musicians’ Village introduced him. This mammoth, ancient oak lives at Audubon Park in Uptown New Orleans. Atop a mass of gnarly roots, the trunk stands so wide that it would take several people to link hands around it with arms outstretched. The oak’s bearded limbs sprawl out every which way in a crazy expanse. Some limbs reach heavenward, while others shoot straight out sideways, dip to the ground, bounce back up, and then make a fakeout to the right before turning to the left.
Under the protective shade of The Tree of Life, the Ambassador spoke of hurricanes and floods ravishing her city, of toxins spewing from the earth into the ocean and destroying the livelihood of her friends, of poisons seeping out from the very walls of her home and stealing the health of her beloved companion. She comes to the Tree of Life to be renewed. And she is. For there is great power and strength to be had in a lifeform that has endured uninterrupted for centuries.