The last day to roll the Toomer's Corner oak trees is today. Auburn A Day. It is really a day to celebrate a tradition in my town. I am no sports fan. I used to be, and Auburn U. Tigers was not my team. I have adopted them by default, by seeing happy people who like them everyday. They don't talk college football much here at the library where I work. When they do, it is not to taunt (as I remember before) but to enjoy. It was a surprising aspect of moving to Auburn. One would think that damnable rivalry would get worse around here, it didn't... it faded off more than a bit.
I know I have written about this before. Maybe I am just writing to say that this is still true. I moved here to find my political views in acceptance, or in toleration, by the general public. I noticed that a town with a lot of college students has a collective mind that was more open than was true in Montgomery, AL, my birthplace, the heart of old Dixie.
These were very positive things in my life. I really cannot stress that enough. I see the importance of community. I thought I did in Montgomery, I was wrong. This is perhaps something that some people grow up in. I grew up with a background war of racism seeping through the most formative moments of my childhood. A war that continues to this day. The community as an inclusive whole in Montgomery, AL, was virtually nonexistent. There was my family and when they slowly drifted away there was less family... and community took a double hit in my life.
When I started having job problems because of this same war zone quality, I lit out, when I could extract myself. I went back and visited a few times.. now it is like Montgomery is on another continent, 50 minutes away.
The poisoning of the Toomer's Corner oak trees here was really a shot at my new life from my old. Community has been strong in healing the mess, but I took it personally. How dare they come into my new home as guests and do that.
But, a day after Boston celebrates their community standing up to a week from hell, Auburn too, celebrates how we have overcome our smaller less consequential tragedy.
(Oddly, as I watched the recent news coverage and saw the furtive figures walking caught by the security cams it was eerily reminiscent of our second set of tree haters, the two that set afire the already dying poisoned trees.)