This picture came from our road trip this month. At first glance, you see trees and rocks, and the waterfall is just out of the picture. Look closer at the tree in the center of the picture.
The tree has obviously been here for a long time, weathered a lot of storms (this is the northwestern part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), and appears to be thriving. Some of the roots are exposed, and it continues to reach and grow upward.
How can you look at this tree and not think about your own life?
I can see so many excellent opportunities for reflection and contemplation!
I want to keep my roots deeply embedded in the bedrock of my life – and if by chance some are exposed and perhaps even damaged – I want to realize that it won’t shake my foundation. I want my roots to provide nourishment and continue to sustain my life even as I reach upward and continue to grow and receive nourishment from rain, storms, sunshine, air, (and snow). I want to be able to bend and flex with the elements while remaining firmly anchored by the foundation I have built in my life.
As the seasons change, I want to remember the lessons from this tree. Springs will bring new periods of growth, new leaves of discovery – unfurling and growing strong in the sun. Summers allow for continued growth and production of seeds that will be scattered about to offer opportunity for new life. Autumns will find glorious color changes in the mature leaves…signs that aging doesn’t have to be colorless. As winters approach, dropping the leaves, and standing bare against cold and unfriendly situations – seemingly empty of life – yet it’s roots keeping it firmly anchored and sheltering it’s life force. And as bleak as the winter may seem – knowing that spring is coming and the cycle will repeat itself.
We have an opportunity that the tree doesn’t, though…The opportunity to experience several “seasons” concurrently. And we have the opportunity to choose how we respond to the seasons.