The Rich, Full Life of a Tree

I like trees, always have. I’m fascinated by them. This past weekend, our daughter Ellie got married under a 200 year old oak tree. It was beautiful ceremony with just us, Jared’s parents, and their closest friends. But not only beautiful, it was significant, because it was under the cascading branches of this beautiful tree. It was an amazing celebration fo life. Everyone present felt it: it was one of those moments where life felt rich and full.

I think trees have a lot to teach us about leading a life that is rich and full. Here’s just a few examples:

- Trees never stop growing. They grow tall and wide. Throughout their life, they continue to reach towards the sky, and extend their branches in all directions.

- Trees produce fruit for others to enjoy. Apples, oranges, pecans, almonds, the amazing avocado, you name it, if you eat it and like it, there’s a good chance it was produced by a tree.

- Trees give shade and comfort when it’s hot, and shelter to the vulnerable. Even in the sweltering Texas’ summer sun, when you step under the canopy of a lush oak, the temperature instantly drops and you feel relief from the heat. And the pecan tree in our backyard is home to several families of squirrels, a red-headed woodpecker, a fairly aggressive mother blue jay, and I’m sure all manner of other creatures. Trees provide a safe stronghold for these vulnerable animals, getting them off the ground and out of the reach of their natural predators.

- Trees are able to withstand mighty storms because of their deep, complex roots. We get frequent thunderstorms here in Texas, and I always marvel at the sturdy oak trees that tower over our house swaying in the powerful winds, unwilling to fall. They are able to withstand the storm only because they have a solid foundation, deeply dug and strengthened with time.

- Trees renew themselves with the seasons. After a productive summer, they let their leaves fall in the autumn, then rest and replenish through the winter, in order to burst forth with new life in the Spring. Trees seem to know this rhythm of renewal is essential to their health and productivity.