Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Only God Can Make A Tree"

I've been staring at trees again. At first it was because I was missing their summer fullness – their green, warm-weather foliage blowing softly in spring and summer breezes. I love trees...the different shapes, heights, variety of leaves, those that flower – those that don't.

Recently driving through the local countryside on a wet, gloomy day – and we've had a lot of wet, gloomy days this winter – I realized how much I still enjoyed those same trees without their covering of green.

Without the thousands of individual leaves covering each branch, each tree reveals another side to it's personality. Bare of any covering, we are allowed to view the form and structure of each branch, each limb, each trunk...as they taper off into differing directions towards the sky.

Some trees are massive – those who have weathered decades of changing seasons - their bark showing signs of age their limbs curling in every direction as they continue to mature. Others are young and strong, their trunks straight – the bark still unmarked by time and nature.

I find them extremely moving and emotional. Even in the bleakness of winter each tree reveals an inner view of it's growth, maturity and wisdom to me. I find myself wondering what these trees have witnessed of humanity.... Forests that have come and gone; children playing and growing beneath them; perhaps travelers on foot, stopping for a rest in the shade of their branches. Growing weary of the browns, grays, and muddy colors of the winter, I have found a new way to appreciate their stark and unusual beauty.

Reviewing what I've just written, it seems as though I might be describing people. When stripped of all foliage - whether full and colorful or sparse and dull – we're all pretty much the same underneath. A straight or stooping posture, smooth or furrowed brow, and number of gray hairs permits us a glimpse of the wisdom and experience of another soul.

Like trees our roots grow wider and deeper with time – strengthened during periods of balmy weather, we are empowered to withstand the storms life surely will bring. Each experience, each encounter we make is an opportunity to put down another root.

Call me a “tree-hugger,” but trees make me smile. Even on the gloomiest of days I can look at a tree and witness its beauty, as it reaches toward heaven reminding me of the strength and power that lies within.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

"Trees" - Alfred Joyce Kilmer, 1913

(Pictures property of Pamela Bousquet)