I took the Amtrak east, and then drove with Dad down East Texas roads, exploring tiny towns nestled in the big Piney Woods.
Over the summer, I took the Amtrak to East Texas, and joined my father for a day trip to Henderson, Texas, a small town near the Piney Woods.
A drive through East Texas is different from drives in a city. The routes are two-lane highways that curve through farm land and are bordered on both sides by forests of pine trees. The pine trees in East Texas never cease to thrill me, and I often feel as though they knowingly mock the city with their tall slender beauty, growing gracefully toward the sky.
“Take that, City Girl. Your high-rise buildings have nothing on us.”
And it’s true.
I asked my father to drive me through town, hoping to glimpse a view of a small-town square and snap a few photos. The square was exactly as I’d envisioned, but it was a cemetery near the middle of town that caught my eye.
Like the pine trees in the surrounding forests, the grave stones, too, rose toward the heavens–beautiful marble statues directing those over whom they kept watch.
As my father waited patiently in his air conditioned car, I walked beneath a hot summer sun, dusting off graves to see the dates. Many stones revealed dates back to the early 1800s, and I tried to envision these early settlers of a small, East Texan town, wondering if any might be my own ancestors–my presence proof that their lives continue beyond the grave.
The grave I found most striking was a statue of Justitia, the Roman goddess of Justice, marking the grave of Judge William Wright Morris, for whom Morris County is named. Goddesses and angels stood guard over many, stoically withstanding time. Some of the smaller grave stones, however, had crumbled or fallen, perhaps a result of age or the boredom of young kids in a small town.
The Henderson City Cemetery was well worth the brief half-hour I spent walking through 100-degree heat. Like the pine trees leading into town, this tiny cemetery, tucked so quietly away, is strikingly beautiful in a most subtle and graceful way.
Note: This is an older post, originally written on a blog I’ve since retired. I also posted this on my map tia page.