By Amy McCollom
I noticed the tree in my front yard is budding. While winter life was cold and harsh, nature held its breath, waiting to exhale. Safe to relax, in God’s perfect timing, all of nature has softened it’s grip and proceeded with growth as usual. Life finds a way to sustain.
Trees and people are so much alike. For all that you see on the outside, there is at least that much more or even up to 4 times more hidden below the surface. Our roots run deep and wide. And here’s the thing; a tree, like a person, doesn’t grow roots by itself. Something, or someone, has to first put the seed there and nourish it. We all started out as a tiny bit of hope, water, and good ground.
Trees, like people, need deep roots, and wide feeder roots to thrive, grow, and stand strong in storms. Did you know that trees standing next to each other will intertwine their roots to give support to the family of trees around them? Trees will even feed sapling trees that do not belong to them, branching out to make sure life carries on. Trees help each other.
Scientists have found that trees communicate with each other chemically and through their root systems, and plan ahead for upcoming droughts or windstorms. A recent study even indicated that trees need their rest, and actually follow a circadian rhythm, drooping their leaves at sundown and lifting them up at sunrise. No wonder we do not feel alone in the forest. We are surrounded by living beings that get sleepy, just like we do.
Trees age about the same as humans, accomplishing a healthy, full life at about 80 years for most. Trees and humans also have this in common; they need each other. For support, nurture, protection, beauty, community, and belonging. Also both need to give. Trees and humans were born to give of themselves. Trees and humans were created to bare fruit or give refuge or comfort or beauty. They both have something to give and are the most strong and lovely when giving.
Trees are like people because God created both for a purpose, a meaning, for such a time as this. He had a plan for that day, that time, that hour when something would be needed to be given. God wrote the masterpiece, and all His creations are the orchestra.
God likes trees. There are at least 56 Bible verses about trees. Every major character in the Bible is associated with a tree. There was a tree of life in the garden of Eden. There is a tree of eternal life in Heaven. It’s clearly evident that God likes trees; and what God likes, we should like too.
Trees are also landmarks. They are there to remind us of where to turn, or of the first place we fell off a swing and skinned our knee, or where we carved the initials of our first love, or where Grandpa’s house used to be. As a tree grows, so does the legend and legacy of why they are there. Not only do the tree roots grow deep and wide, but the memories and reasons to remember grow deep and wide within us, and are shared from one generation to the next. Like the seeds floating in the wind, we pass on the legacies of the trees and landmarks in our lives.
As several friends have passed away already this year, I couldn’t help but pause and ponder when I saw the budding tree. I was sad that they couldn’t be there to enjoy another spring, yet a quietness filled my heart and soul, and I knew that life would find a way to carry on for us left behind. The tree branches moved in the breeze and brushed against my shoulder, as if patting me gently. In that moment I saw each of these loved ones as a mighty tree. Their souls slipping up through the trunk and then the branches like a wisp of a cloud on their journey to Heaven. The trees remained standing tall, branches waving in the breeze as if hands raised in praise to the Lord. It was a glorious vision! I will never see trees the same again.