Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Tree

When my wife was growing up, her and/or her sisters planted a small tree in their back yard. I say my "wife and/or her sisters" only because depending on who you talk to, the original planter of said tree seems to change. Never-the-less, I believe my wife when she says "she" planted the tree.

This is the story, of that tree...

This tree started its life out great.
It had hopes and dreams.
It had a family who would surround her and watch out after her.
It had a great root system and lots of fresh rain and sun to help it grow.
It also had something it did not expect.

That was a rusty old Craftsman Lawn Mower.

This poor tree, kept getting run over time and time again by this rusty, decrepit lawn mower.

Thus began the epic life struggle of this little tree, to grow (and recover) from all of it's harsh dealings.

Each week the tree sprouted up a little more, thinking "today, today is going to be different!"
And yet, each same week, came the sound of a clanking motor, the smell of mixed gas, and the blades of furry. The loving hands of my wife (or one of her sisters, depending on who you talk to) were no where around to help protect the tree, or mend it's wounds.

Once again, this brave little tree shakes off the week that was. Looks steadfast into the future, and soldiers on once again. Once more reaching up for the warm of the sun and the refreshing rain!

And once more the mower came.
Each time determined to thwart the little tree.
To dash the trees hopes and dreams!

And each time, the tree refuses to die! It refuses to give up, to cower or to hide from life.

Week after week, month after month and year after year, this epic struggle continues - a midst the protests of my wife (or one of her sisters, depending on who you talk to) to make the lawn mower stop, and to spare the little tree. The whole time, the tree not knowing that she was in fact deeply loved, but simply loved by those who were unable to help or care for her.

But life has a funny way of turning out for those who don't give up. Eventually, the tree grew stronger, so strong that the lawn mower which was once its tormentor, could no longer hurt it. In fact, one week when the lawn mower came menacingly close the tree decided it had had enough - and lashed out, breaking the lawn mowers chopping blade!

The tree had grown too tall and strong to be hurt by something which was once so deadly and menacing.

The tree had not grown to be at "peace" with the lawn mower. Nor did the tree try to forget what had happened to it. Instead, the tree had moved on, wounds and all... for this is all the tree knew to do.

But now, there were children playing with the tree! A rope swing tied to one large branch! Mothers and daughters laying in the cool of its shade reading a story together. Yes, the tree had moved on and been made complete in her fullness, bounding in love and surrounded by people who would (and able to) care for her.

And although from time to time, one of these new loved ones would carve their initials into the tree surrounded by a heart and some other initials (which didn't match mine, by the way), it didn't seem to hurt.

And all that remained of the trees past, was a twisted trunk and some crooked branches.

Sure from time to time, the tree would look upon itself and feel shame for the twisted trunk and crooked branches... but to those who grew up with the tree, playing in those same crooked branches, sitting in the shade of her twisted trunk, they think she is beautiful. There is no thought or reminder of the trees past... only reminders of love and a life shared together.

They would not trade her twisted trunk for the most beautiful Cedars in Lebanon, nor would they trade her crooked branches for the boughs of the Weeping Willow.

For they love their tree, exactly the way she is.

... I'm sure that there is a story of adoption in there somewhere. Can't quite put my finger on it. But if I were to take a guess at the deeper meaning of this story, it's that if you want to have a well maintained lawn, hire a professional with a nice lawn mower - otherwise you are gonna have stuff sprouting up everywhere!


  1. What beautiful story and so well told.

  2. what a poet you are. This is a perfect story of how to survive life's ups and downs.