For the Love of Trees


Image by Diane Walker@Contemplative Photography

I have had a lifelong love affair with trees. Trees have inspired and strengthened me in many ways. The huge magnolia tree from my troubled childhood was a place of safety, giving me a place to hide from danger, offering to me a place to feel protected.

Miss Martha’s sprawling fig tree on the edge of our back yard bore wonderfully unusual fruit, soft and sweet and delectable. Her plum trees were loaded with plums, sweet and sour and delicious both ways. The fond memory I have of Miss Martha’s trees is punctuated with an angry Miss Martha catching us stealing figs and plums, yelling at us with an ominous voice, and chasing us from her yard.

The African plains graced my life with the gift of watching giraffes feeding on flat-topped thorn trees and elephants pushing their weight against misshaped baobab trees. The colorful swaying of ten foot tall bougainvillea trees was a mesmerizing sight. And in Africa, poinsettia plants are trees, trees like I had never before seen.

IMG_5782Β Β IMG_5781

IMG_5783Β Β IMG_5784

Beyond this crash course on botany, and dendrology, I share a heart-and-soul love of trees. It is almost a spiritual connection for me, one that keeps me fully grounded, one that represents life, growth, rootedness, protection and sheer enjoyment.

My friend, Elaine, writes a beautiful blog entitled The Edge. In today’s blog post,Β Elaine shares a quote about what we learn from trees written by Diane Walker. (

It’s possible, you know β€” we learn it from the trees β€”
to be full of grace and humor, dancing in the light
while remaining fully grounded,
rooted in the gravitas of being . . .

– Diane Walker

God is pleased, I think, when we dance in the light full of grace and humor. We learn it from the trees, Diane Walker says. I believe she’s right. So today, I will be spending a few moments sitting in the shade of our Chinese Tallow tree and swinging underneath a towering Pin Oak. Perhaps in the leaves that rustle gently in the breeze, I will hear God’s Β whispers.




Paintings in the Sky


Photograph by Sorina M

Sometimes nature paints the sky with brilliant color to remind us of vibrancy and energy. Often such a painting in the sky comes to us when we’re downcast. It is a gift, a grace gift sent by God to caress and comfort us. It is a thing of extraordinary beauty.

Perhaps it is a message to us to reach again for the sky and dream new dreams. It is a message that says, “Take back your energy. You are strong. You are resilient. You can get through down times.”

Life has taught me that when I fall face down in the dust, I can, and I will, get up again. I will face another day with courage and joy. I will move forward on this journey, and I will proclaim victory over whatever assails me.

I am not afraid. I am not permanently discouraged. I am simply taking the time I need to refresh myself. There are times when all of us are exhausted from acting stronger than we feel. It’s not necessary to pretend. It is healthier to own the place where we are, no matter how painful it might be at the moment.

I often recite this verse from the Bible when I need an extra burst of strength.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

That scripture, along with occasional paintings in the sky, bring me renewed hope and strength for another day’s journey.