NEW APPALACHIAN MOMENTS BLOG POST!!!
From Scott Ballard
Have you ever been driving out in the countryside and you pass an old farmhouse and notice…cedar trees, sometimes massive, growing just off the front porch or somewhere close by in the front yard? Or seen big cedar trees in old family cemeteries?
As you might have noticed from our Facebook pages, we at Appalachian Memory Keepers and Germain Media are always out…scouring the landscape for great photos and great stories and…curiosity got the best of us…we decided to go a little deeper to find out the reason why these cedar trees were planted on so many High Country Homesteads and graveyards!
Well, as you might have imagined… there is a connection to both history and the Bible.
The cedar tree was described in the Book of Ezekiel…as the only tree…that could sustain the Israelites…as they traveled through the desert. And in…many instances in the Bible, this tree type was also used as a symbol for prosperity, because of its long life and elegant growth.
It also turns out that there is a Greek connection too! Many of the cedar trees found in North America early on in our nation’s history were mistakenly classed as Cypress, and Cypress has been associated with grieving since the times of the ancient Greeks.
In fact, it goes back to the legend of Cyparissus (sipe’rissus) who accidentally killed a buck that had been his friend. He prayed to Apollo that he might grieve forever, and he was turned into a tree. The Cypress. Possibly a link to the cedars (cypress) in graveyards!
Intertwining the Biblical mentions of the Cedar, where it is a symbol of prosperity, with ancient folklore that associates it with grieving, we can say that cedars are representative of the duality of life. We may prosper while we are alive, but once we leave this plane of existence, all is not lost.
So there you have it, our trip down this Appalachian back road discovering the reasons for big cedar trees at old homesteads and family burial plots just took us to Greece and Holy land and back… all a few paragraphs…kind of knocks your hat right in the creek! Hope you’ve enjoyed the journey!
Please share your memories or thoughts about cedar trees in the comments section below and if you’d like to hear the audio version click below: