Sunday, November 20, 2016

The tree that almost wasn't

My favorite tree almost wasn't.  When a tornado ripped through the center of our farm in April, 2014, trees were the favorite targets.  Countless numbers were ripped from the earth, twisted at their roots like corkscrews, or broken in half by the F4 winds.  Hundreds of them, having thrived more than a century on this earth, were destroyed as easily as you would snap a toothpick in half.

One small tree at the edge of the yard was cracked in half by the winds, splintered a few feet from its base, the upper part  nearly destroying a hundred year old shed.  A track hoe removed the large upper half from the shed and I added to my to-do list taking my chainsaw and putting the pitiful remains out of their misery.

Fortunately, my to-do list fell a few items short of done.  And at some point weeks later, all tornado clean up work stopped and everyone just rested for awhile.

Days became weeks and weeks became months and so on.  Before you could turn around a year had passed, it was spring again and guess what?  That little piece of tree, left for dead and sentenced to a burn pile, started sprouting new limbs.  And weeks later, the buds on those limbs became leaves.  And then more limbs and more leaves.  Impossible, I thought.  I mean, that tree was a goner.  A splinter.  A hopeless shadow of what once it had been.

Now, over two years later, it's much more to me than a tree.  It's a reminder that nothing is done until it's done.  And our minds simply don't have the power to determine that.  We are limited to seeing through a glass darkly during our time here on this tiny planet and we are reminded to "set (our) minds on things above, not on earthly things."

It's also a reminder not to give up.  To have hope and to have faith.  And when that hope and faith blossoms, new worlds open up.

And, finally, that little tree continuously reminds me that regeneration is always possible.  Rejuvenation.  Redemption.  Resurrection on all levels.  Even at our lowest times, when winds of fortune have turned ugly and rendered disaster, tragedy, or devastation, there is hope.  Or even when there's just a malevolent breeze that blows us about from time to time, knocking us down, pushing us off course, there is recovery.  There is reinstatement of our more vibrant, more confident former selves.  There are new seasons and new beginnings.

Next spring I'm looking for my favorite tree to be even taller and fuller and stronger.  Who knows?  It might even have a nest of birds.

I think I would feel like a grandfather.

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