This cypress story got started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer.com. To see another cypress picture and discover these beginnings, click here. Well, in fact, most of this story is there.
Cypress trees are ornery critters. For the most part, (unless the lake goes dry), their feet are never dry and they thrive in non-hospitable environments. That being said, to some of us, they are a thing of beauty. All of these trees are in Enterprise Lake at Wilmot AR. Wilmot is just a few miles north of the Arkansas-Louisiana state line.
Lake Enterprise is a backward question-mark shaped oxbow lake, a remnant of eons of geological shifts. There are a lot of similar lakes in this part of the country, but none quite as well populated with cypress as this one.
What the ??????
The Jerome Relocation Center was a camp where 16,000 Japanese Americans (most were US Citizens) were incarcerated from October 1942 until June 1944. Named for the now virtually depleted town of Jerome, Arkansas, the relocation center was established as a result of executive order 9066, signed in February 1942 by then President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
As a result of that order more than 120,000 persons of Japanese descent were relocated from the west coast and Hawaii to similar camps. There was another relocation camp in Arkansas 27 miles north at Rowher. There is a memorial to Japanese American WWII veterans and a cemetery holding the remains of internees who died while residents of that camp.
In the mid-70s, I had the privilege of meeting a man about my age who had spent part of his childhood in the Rowher Camp. He was in the nearby town of McGehee AR helping make arrangements for a memorial service to be held at the Rowher site. Also in the 70s, I talked to several residents of the Rowher area who were adults at the time. They told me that, for the most part, local residents sympathized with the internees. The internees also gave a good accounting of themselves and were polite, responsible people.
I talked to a woman whose family operated a store adjacent to the Rowher Camp. She was very complimentary of the internees and admired their ability to create outstanding vegetable gardens, a skill universally admired here in the south. She also said that after the initial settlement, some of the internees could come and go as they pleased and became customers of her store. She fondly remembered some individuals by name.
Down the road at Wilmot, the trees were there all the time, not paying attention to the personal dramas unfolding to the north. While we humans scurry about learning from our mistakes, the trees await our visit. If we never see them they, the ornery cypress, don’t care. If we do happen to set foot on their turf, their quiet dignity and infinite resilience give us pause to marvel at inexplicable wonders.
Thanks for dropping by,
Filed under: Behind the Scenes, but wait, there's more | Tagged: Arkansas-Louisiana state line, corndancer.com, cypress, cypress picture, cypress trees, geological shifts, Jerome Relocation Camp internees, Jerome Relocation Center, Lake Enterprise, low water conditions, oxbow lake, populated with cypress, Rowher Camp, Wilmot AR | 7 Comments »