Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Written by Mary Cleckley, BP/USA

As I sit and admire the beautiful lush growth of the trees this spring, I feel renewed. The long and arduous winter we had all over the country had made me wonder if, indeed, the trees would be able to perform their magic this year. A late Spring freeze, after many trees had budded out, had hurt. Some trees were also showing the results of a storm late last fall. In the woods back of my home, the tops of several oaks were broken by the intense winds. The damage is obvious. The still hanging dead limbs and leaves stand out by comparison to the chartreuse color of the new leaves.

We have learned from past experiences that the pines, so plentiful in the South are particularly vulnerable to the forces of nature. We are accustomed to the wind and ice storms taking the tops out of many of them. But it was a surprise when the storm didn’t affect the pines; instead, it took the tops out of many oaks. The oaks are sturdy and as a rule, can stand much of what nature has to offer. They are dependable and deep rooted.

Does what happened to the trees not remind you of what happens to a bereaved family after the death of a child? It takes even the oaks among us and tears the heart out of us, leaving us damaged. For a long time, the damage done is obvious. Our limbs are not necessarily broken but our hearts surely are. The most dependable and sturdy among us are brought to our knees and it is hard to imagine that new growth will ever take place again.
As I look at the oaks back in my woods, I know that one day those dangling dead limbs and leaves will no longer be obvious. They will eventually fall to the ground and nature will set out to repair as much as she is able. As with broken tree limbs and broken hearts, nature will not be able to repair everything perfectly; scars will remain and the shape of the trees and our lives will never be the same. Our recoveries will differ, however, for the trees will continue doing what only they know how to do: grow acorns and replace limbs. We, on the other hand, not only have the opportunity to grow, but also to change in many ways. One does not suffer through such pain without learning valuable lessons about that is important and about priorities.

As the spring revived the trees, let some of the magic spill over on you. Learn to grow in important ways. The pines among us will not learn, but the oaks surely will. When you say your prayers, pray to be an oak.

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