Friday, April 18, 2014

The Legend Of The Weeping Willow Tree

A legend or fable is a story that doesn't pretend to be historical, but simply teaches a lesson.  The events surrounding the suffering and death of Christ gave rise to many legends.

The Legend of the Weeping Willow
Why does the weeping willow bend its branches and leaves downward?

According to one legend, the tree "weeps" because it was the tree upon which Judas hanged himself. 
Another legend says its branches were used by the soldiers to whip the imprisoned Jesus.

Even earlier people had viewed the weeping willow as a grieving tree because of Psalm 37: "By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.  There on the willow trees we hung up our harps."  Some scholars believe the trees were actually poplars.

"But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit."  Matthew 27:50

Life is usually pretty noisy but sometimes becomes deathly silent.  On this day in 2006, we were visiting LuAnn's parents near Naples, New York.  We had just laid down to sleep when our son Eric called and asked his mother if she was sitting down?  We had just went to bed so now she was sitting on the edge of the bed.

He said a terrible windstorm had come through at dark and he thought the garage was moved off its foundation.  He was living with us at the time as he was starting his career after college.  He said he had tried to lock the barn doors down but the wind sucked them right off the barn.  Was it a tornado we asked?

He didn't know.  The main thing was he was safe but had put himself in harm's way!  By this time we knew we couldn't sleep so we got dressed and drove all night to home.  We got to Martinsville about sunup and never saw anything until we ended Greene Road and State Route 28.  Limbs and wires were strewn everywhere, we knew it was a bad storm and were anxious about the damage.

We live one mile east of that intersection and when we pulled into the drive we saw the devastation.  The 26 foot beams on our front porch were blown off and wedged behind the wheels of his Dodge Dakota!  The garage was sitting 3 feet farther east, straddling the bushes beside it.  The garage contents including years of soil test records were strewn from the garage to the house across the road a half mile south of us.  Almost every bin and building suffered damage.  Shingles were scattered across the countryside.

All was still but 12 hours earlier was sheer turmoil.  It took me all summer and $30,000 to put the place back into original condition.  It was the Good Friday we will never forget.

Today on Good Friday all is quiet.  It sure wasn't eight years ago.  I imagine any weeping willow would have been pointing to the sky.

Ed Winkle


  1. "Can still remember that night. It's the only time I have heard your house creak. I went outside to move my truck and the other vehicles. The left garage door was off its rails flapping inward while the right garage door was flapping outward over the hood of the truck (an ignored sign to go back inside). Couldn't move the truck because the front porch pillar fell and slid across the driveway wedging under the rear tires. Then went down to the pole barn and was pushing on the two big front doors to try to hook them but a big gust came up and blew the doors into me throwing me across the garage into a tractor tire. Decided then that it might be a good idea to go inside. Then the big pine in the front yard fell and shook the house. It was a sight to see and all took place in about 15 minutes. I will take an A for stupidity on this one and suggest going in the basement when it is excessively windy outside. Can't believe it has been eight years already. Enjoyed the article Ed."

  2. You were young and operated by instinct. I have done much dumber things, like driving right into the record Xenia tornado!

  3. Well I don't think there is much to that weeping willow legend unless both Jesus and Judas lived in China, but this storm sure looked like a good reason to wallow in weeping for a while.

    We also have the ornamental "Judas tree" in many parks in France, but the English name seems to be a mistranslation of the French name "tree of Judea", from the region where it naturally grows, not from Judas. It has an abundance of beautiful pink flowers that are even more striking because they emerge in spring before the leaves, and leaves shaped a bit like hearts, which is usually how I recognize the tree out of its flowering season.

  4. That's a dog wood. The heart shaped....