Do You See What I See?

An image of the Blessed Virgin on an Oak Cliff tree trunk proves one thing: Belief is in the eye of the beholder

I understood. We had only been talking for a few minutes, and these girls didn't know me. Maybe they didn't trust a reporter enough to tell him a silly story about a crying tree. Or maybe they were telling me the truth.

"We made her," the girl said again. "With our hands."

Alejandro asked me what I thought of the tree. I told her I respected the faith of the people who believed in it and would not mock them. I finished my tea and said goodbye.

Craig Larotonda
The Peña daughters--Liberty, 5, and Aaliyah, 4--sit among the candles left in front of the Virgin Mary image found on a tree trunk in the yard of their Oak Cliff home.
The Peña daughters--Liberty, 5, and Aaliyah, 4--sit among the candles left in front of the Virgin Mary image found on a tree trunk in the yard of their Oak Cliff home.

I had never been suspicious of her motives. I believed her when she told me she didn't plan to sell the tree, and that the offerings they were collecting would go toward a needy family's Christmas.

That night when I got home I called a Catholic friend of mine. He laughed at my stories of mystical trees and cracked windows. Like me, he wondered why anyone would believe Mary would appear in a tree, and why every time one of these "sightings" occurred, hundreds of people turned out to see it. Wasn't the media complicit in this? And why was I the first reporter to ask how the image appeared in the tree?

"I bet you anything that tree's already on eBay," he said.

We looked. We found a clock with Mary's image. A petrified rock. But no trees.

"Just wait," he said. "Give it a week."


I went back to Alejandro's yard one last time, a few days before Christmas. It was raining and the yard was empty. Some of the roses placed at the base of the tree were wilting, and the candles were no longer burning.

But I was sure that when the rain stopped, someone would come to see the tree, and they would find what they were looking for.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Dallas Concert Tickets
Loading...