Life-Giving Nature

The sun has just set and it’s that “ in between” time—not bright and not completely dark. I sit on a rocking chair, alone on the front porch. As I listen to the wind come up the mountain, I begin to study the different trees and shrubs around me. They each remind me of people I know or have met, and I’m again aware of the strong connection between humans and nature—of the energy of all that lives.

The eastern redbud is elegant with its dramatic display that heralds the spring with big, heart-shaped leaves the size of a plate.
This tree reminds me of people who walk in with dramatic flair and hug us enthusiastically. They’re the ones who bring smiles to our faces, and who lead with their hearts.

The stately pin oak is strong and steady, withstanding the heat and the cold—offering shade in the summer and sturdy branches that can bear the weight of winter’s snow.
They’re like those “always ready to be there people” who offer a place to rest when we’re overwhelmed, and give us strength when we’re in the “cold winter of life”.

The maple doesn’t need to be the star of the show. It patiently waits until autumn, to burst into its breathtaking symphony of orange and red.
The maples call to mind the people who don’t always need to be “on”— they’re comfortable being part of the big picture. But, when the time is just right, they display their full array of stunning color.

The azaleas are happy to grow in the shade. They don’t need to be in sunlight to bloom into beautiful plants.
They’re the ones who don’t always need the spotlight shining down on them. They don’t try to be all and do all. They can take center stage, but can also be the backdrop for a lot of other beauty.

The curly willow is sensuous and different; its upright twisted branches whirl into the sky, bringing another dimension into the art of nature.
These are the creative beings—those who learn to express their true selves in unique ways, share their passion, and give us an opportunity to see the world through a different lens.

The boxwoods, trimmed and precise, are fine with being contained, and creating the framework. They yield to the power of the trees that soar above them.
These boxwoods are like the people I know who are most comfortable with order and structure that makes sense. They’re dependable and we know we can count on them.

The blue spruce grows almost completely symmetrically. Dressed in silvery, blue-green, it stands out from everything else, never wishing it could be “greener”.
These are the folks who walk through life confident and secure, knowing who they really are. They practice steady growth, always aware of their uniqueness in a world of mostly green.

Silhouetted against the early-night sky they are a masterful work of art, all contributing to the picture, all cohabitating peacefully, all happy to share this one piece of land, complimenting each other, not trying to all be the same, but not trying to be “better”.

How many times have I sat in this very rocking chair, listening to the wind come up the mountain? How many times have I missed these moments—caught up in the human world of emotion, or over-thinking, or senseless chatter running through my mind?

I look again and see how these creations of God live in harmony. The redbud yields to the mighty oaks, it’s branches growing where they’re given space. The maple tree is more discreet, and shares the changing color stage with the azaleas. The curly willow adds drama, behind the boxwoods that create the frame of the stage. The blue spruce stands alone, growing very slowly, but proud of being ever-green.

Trees release oxygen and are life-giving. There are people who are life-giving as well. They’re the ones who do not expect, or allow, the world to revolve around them. They are fed by caring and loving and giving, and that way of life, organically, comes back to them. That’s how I aspire to live. Would you like to join me?

Twitter: @kaymclane
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