This fall I fell in love with a tree.
It is a small tree in the neighbor’s yard. As all around this tree burst into the colors of autumn, she took her sweet time. Leaf by leaf, branch by branch, day by day – I’d round the corner of the driveway eager to see what new beauty she had to offer. The love I felt for her was deep and real.
In December I went to visit her during a spiritual practice I was leading called Lectio Tierra. The invitation was to walk slowly through nature, noticing and observing, and letting God speak by sitting with whatever caught your attention. So I stood below her and just looked – hoping the neighbors wouldn’t think I was super weird for staring so long at a bare tree.
Because indeed, she was almost bare. Her beautiful green-turned-yellow leaves had fallen – an offering to the earth around her roots. An offering of life to death and decomposition to life again.
Standing there nearly bare (a few brown leaves were stubbornly clinging to her branches – I empathized with them not wanting to let go) she reminded me of these cycles of life. She looks dead but she really is just at rest. Her yearly work is done and she is being renewed by her long winter’s nap.
I wonder what spring will bring for her.
I wonder what spring will bring for me.
I was offered a grant-funded position at a church and I am daily challenged and encouraged by the work I get to do there. We had an offer accepted on a house so we look forward to moving and unpacking and feeling settled again after so long being unsettled. The kids are doing a play and making friends and making music and making my life full of laughter and beauty and goodness. Darin is setting goals and starting anew and working so hard to take care of all of us.
This year has been a year – but spring is coming. What is God up to underground, in the dirt? What new life will come forth from all the loss?
I think again about my tree. Each year she is stripped bare. She stands there naked – but she is not ashamed. She is proud of the work she has done. She is grateful for the rest. She is hopeful for spring.
I think I love her because I feel such kinship with her.
I, too, am hopeful for spring.