tribute to trees
I have a confession to make: I love trees! Not in a tree-hugging kind of way, but in the sense of “I feel at home surrounded by trees.”
When I was growing up, my only playground was a thick patch of hilly forest that always promised adventure. My collie/ shepherd mix, Ginger, and I would go exploring the woods for hours. As a kid, I climbed and sat in trees, and I fell from trees. Now I walk a wooded trail in the city where engraved markers include the quote, “Today I have grown taller from walking among the trees.”
Twelve years ago, we were building a house on a wooded lot that sloped down in the back. The house had to be built upon an eight-foot foundation that put me at eye level with all the wooded splendor on the property, and I loved it.
At our current home, we have few trees on the lot, but we have neighbors behind us with natural growth from wooded areas of their backyards. God is so good to me to give me all these trees in spite of my being in a small neighborhood. And, the length of our backyard is one continuous green hedge that reaches twelve-feet high or more, affording us glorious green privacy all year round.
What is it about these trees and green? Why can I just gaze at the lustrous contrast of summer blue skies against the green canopy of mature trees surrounding our property? Why do I find myself peering into the distance at trees that must be over a hundred years old?
I have a special relationship with trees. So often, I sit outside on the back porch watching their branches sway in the breezes, and I hear God speak. Once, the strong winds moving through the trees casted rapidly shifting shadows on our white fence. I heard the Spirit say, “Who does not change like shifting shadows.” I referenced the James 1 passage immediately and found a resolution for a dilemma I was in, one that only hours earlier had caused me to have a restless night of sleep.
Another time God used a barren tree in the winter season to address a fear that I held on to. He spoke His promise and confirmed it with His Isaiah 61:3 truth: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.”
God has also spoken to me about my ministry as I walked along a riverfront lined with young trees. He made it clear that I was to be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:3).
During my toddler years, before we made a permanent move to the country, my family would often go on weekend escapes from Cincinnati to our farm in the middle of nowhere. I think my parents valued the opportunity to slow down and take in the beauty of nature. Now, as an adult, I don’t have to run far to enjoy such a get-away. I live in a city, but I only have to go to the seclusion of my back porch to be still and know He is God.
At this very moment, I’m intoxicated by the beautiful morning He has granted me the privilege to experience. The trees are dancing in the breezes, and the outdoor curtains are flowing. The cardinal and the blue jay have already been by to say hello. And, God is speaking. Be still, my heart. Be still.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- His eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20).