Monday, April 29, 2013

Of Trees and Life

I have always loved trees.  I remember as a small child gazing up at the sky through the branches of a lone tree in the backyard.  Even then, I wondered where my life would take me; what I would see, who I would meet, where I would eventually live and what I would become.  The tree with its covering branches and leaves gave me a type of comfort as an entity that didn't change while I was in constant change from child to teen to young adult.  Throughout the years, the tree remained solid and solitary, a witness to the seasons of my growth and a silent partner to my thoughts.  Since that time, my childhood home has vanished to progress... a simple two lane road became a busy four lane Trans-Canada Highway and the surrounding fields became gas stations, convenience stores and fast food restaurants.  The tree is long gone as is the house and familiar neighborhood.

Now, fast forward to the year 2013 and Eastern Oregon. There is another solitary tree in the backyard of where I live.  This photo was taken on an early summer morning when the sun was streaming through pasture fence-posts and spilling through the apple tree and into the lawn.  A friend had made a swing out of rope and wood for our grandson.  It is now weathered but still sturdily attached to a heavy branch, which remains solid through his growing years from toddler into boyhood.  Already, the tree holds many memories being a testament to laughter and play along with childhood dreams and wishes, not only to our grandson but to our two grown daughters as well.  The tree was here long before our grandson arrived and it will continue to be here as he grows into a young man who embarks on his own personal journey in life. It is a comfort to know that this will be a familiar place for him as he returns to visit from time to time, just as our daughters do.  I doubt that there will be any freeway built across this particular land to demolish what has been known for the sake of progress.

I received the following story on 'The Three Trees'.  I tried to locate an author to credit the story to but could only find that it is a traditional folk tale.  Perhaps you have read this already, but it is worth reading again.
Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods..... 
They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, 'Someday I hope to be a treasure chest.  I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems.  I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.'
Then the second tree said, 'Someday I will be a might ship.  I will take Kings and Queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world.  Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull'.
Finally the third tree said, 'I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest Tree in the forest.  People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching.  I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.'

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees.  When one came to the first tree he said, 'This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter', and he began cutting it down.  The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
At the second tree the woodsman said, 'This looks like a strong tree.  I should be able to sell it to the shipyard'.  The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship. 
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true.  One of the woodsmen said, 'I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one', and he cut it down. 

When the first tree  arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals.  He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay.  This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree  was cut and made into a small fishing boat.  His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.  
The third tree  was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.  The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.  

Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn.  She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree.  The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do.  The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time. 
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree.  One of them was tired and went to sleep.  While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe.  The men woke the sleeping man and He stood and said 'Peace' and the storm stopped.  At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat. 
Finally, someone came and got the third tree.  It was carried though the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it.  When the came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill.  When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it. 

Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.   

How true that is in our lives.  Blessings come through many unforeseen doors as well as tragedy.  Both are a fact and again, a paradox, in this imperfect world.  But God has the ability to turn tragedy into triumph, which becomes a blessing in itself.   Never underestimate our Father of Lights as well as the human spirit, which can be indomitable buoyed by His Presence.

I found this delightful video clip which was created by Tamso64.  The background music to this photo production is called 'In Memory of Trees' by Enya.    I thought it was a fitting conclusion to this week's post.  Enjoy the peace that it brings.
You can also view at:

Join me next Monday at the Turn-Up Patch... until then, go and hug a tree!!  Could be a bit of magic in it for you!!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this blog about the Trees. You are such a wonderful writer. Loved the blog on the lady bugs too. I have always loved lady bugs and they make me happy when I see them. When they hatch out in the Spring there are thousands of them in a pile trying to find their way. A friend of mine has a photo of that. Thank you for all your blogs. Sometimes I don't get to read them when they arrive. I enjoy reading them in the evening as kind of a pre-bed thing - very relaxing. Thank you for all your wrtings and photos too. Take care my friend.