I love trees.
Growing up, we had three rather large trees in our backyard. The wonderful thing about these trees was the fact that their first branching began extremely close to the ground. To a child, of course, this could only mean one thing. Without a doubt, these sturdy plants must have been divinely fashioned specifically for the glorious art of tree climbing. My backyard soon became a haven for all things anti-gravity. Some days, a ninja would perch high in the bough, carefully monitoring the wind-swept plain for any sign of those mystical enemy samurai, whose presence could only be seen through the mind’s eye of that lone guardian. Other days, it was Tarzan, pausing on his quest through the jungle. Still others, it was a great cat, silently observing his imaginary prey off in the distance of that great, grassy savannah which was the rest of the yard. The upper reaches of those trees were a place of solace and creativity for me, and there was both safety and serenity in their branches.
Of course, this was in Arizona, and not every yard bore the same awesome splendor as mine. For some reason which I still cannot comprehend, rock and cacti were a common landscape for many of the homes in Phoenix. I confess, the image they conveyed was one of beauty, and often that aesthetic would easily surpass that of even my own beloved yard. The desert landscape also made sense – cacti used very little water, and rocks were extremely easy to maintain. Nevertheless, as a growing boy, I had to wonder if the exchange was worth it. Sure, it was pretty, and easy… but nobody was going to climb a cactus. Even today, as an adult, I would rather rake leaves, mow the lawn, and prune trees than trade for a landscape that sacrificed life and function for ease of aesthetic.
I have to wonder, too, at my own spiritual landscape. If I want the splendor of a heart filled with trees to climb and grass to feel underfoot, I have to feed and water my lawn. I must make sure that I am taking the time to irrigate my life with the Living Water. I need to fertilize my grass through meditating on the Word, and prune my trees through accountability and reflection. When I do this, my heart becomes welcoming, a place of peace and beauty. When I fail to do this, my heart becomes dry and desolate. No matter how pleasant I strive to make it appear, the needles stick, and the stones cut. This won’t do. I need a lawn of comfort and joy, peace and strength, passion and imagination.
I need trees.
How about you?
Image Credit: Ian Sane