C.C.-The tale of the two trees #29

Another day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood, another day in COVID-19 world, another Groundhog Day, another beautiful spring morning for me to walk out into God’s stunningly beautiful display of spring colors from every flowering tree and bush and flower garden and yard, no wonder the birds were singing so loudly this morning – it would be hard to keep quiet when surrounded by so much beauty.

I was stopped in my tracks this morning by a particularly large, vibrant crabapple tree in full bloom, so full of blossoms, such a brilliant shade of deep pink that it should really have another color name to describe its blossoms – but I can’t think of any words to suffice, to do this tree justice.   (I guess here a picture really would be worth a thousand words)

Why had I not noticed this tree before today? I wondered.  Then my eyes wandered to the tree directly across the street and I knew the answer to my question.  There stood an equally large weeping cherry which in weeks past had been full of pale pink blossoms cascading downward, seeming to float really, a flowering, feathery canopy full of blooms, branches bending, falling gently toward the earth.

I had not been able to take my eyes off this weeping cherry tree as I walked past each day, she was just so lovely.  But now her blooms were gone, faded away, her glory now diminished a little more each day till it was no more.

And all the while, the tree across the street, the crabapple, had been coming into her full bloom, slowly, a little more each day until today her full glory burst forth, holding nothing back, every budding blossom revealing itself as if on cue.  I could not take my eyes off of her for some time.  So I stood admiring the deep pink color against the clear blue of the sky, made bluer by the contrast of her blossoms.

I glanced again at the weeping cherry tree across the street and felt a sadness I could not explain.  Perhaps she was truly weeping now.  I wanted to weep with her for what was (her former glory) while at the same time  I wanted to rejoice and revel in what is, in what was now before me – the brilliant vibrance of the now blossoming crabapple tree.

Isn’t this life?  I thought.  There are seasons and even seasons within a season, as I witnessed this morning.  The two trees taught me that.  Nothing stays still.  We are always changing.  The waxing and the waning are not just for the moon.  These spring flowering trees slowly fill with blossoms until overflowing with color and with life, they reach their full force and from that peak start an equally slow descent, flower by flower, blossom by blossom, until all have faded, fallen away – giving way to the greens of summer which will keep us all company until autumn makes her appearance.

As I stood today with the weeping cherry tree on one side of me and the crabapple tree on the other, I felt grief and gladness simultaneously.  I couldn’t exclude either tree from my gaze.  Could there be room for both?  One’s glory fading away, the other’s coming into its own at the proper time.  Gain and loss together in the same moment.  I thought of the words in Romans 12:15,

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”    I am called to do both because life consists of both.  I cannot experience the one without the other.

So there I was, suspended between the two trees, letting them tell me their tale, learning their lesson – when who should appear but my friend, the all weather walker!  Our conversation (appropriately socially distanced, of course) took many turns but in the end led her to tell me this.  She has a grandson named for her father.  Her father died two days before her grandson was born.

It’s the tale of the two trees, it’s the lesson of life, it’s played out over and over again within each day,  within each season, within each year and over the years. We cannot stop God’s cycle of living and dying.  Jesus told His disciples in John 12:24,

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  From seeds that are “buried” in the ground come all kinds of living plants, trees, flowers and food.

This seems to mirror the miracle of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection to life everlasting.  Has creation been preparing us all along, trying to teach us this mystery of life and death and life again with God forever?  Romans 6:4 talks about this mystery,

“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

New life, that’s what spring is all about, a season of new life after the long, cold winter has left everything for dead and moved on.  But then the miracle occurs. The grass turns green, the trees start to bud, daffodils and dandelions appear out of no where along with violets, tulips, red bud, forsythia and flowering trees and bushes of every kind.

Yet even within this season of new life, flowers and blossoms reach their peak and then fade away – giving way to what follows in their wake.  It reminds me of what John the Baptist told those following him about Jesus saying,

“He (Jesus) must increase; I must decrease.”   (John 3:30)

Those two trees growing across the road from one another reminded me of those words today.  One was increasing even as the other was decreasing.  Each on their own timetable.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 says it best,

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:  a time to be born and a time to die,”

sincerely,       Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “C.C.-The tale of the two trees #29

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