A Tree's Praise
You can listen to this piece on episode 26 of the podcast.
Just after dusk when all the children dust the last bit of dirt from their worn threads and before the dog walkers make their final laps down the block. After families turn in for the night into clustered homes filled with aromas of Italian take-out or spicy shrimp stir-fries or smoke from cigarettes lit next to cereal bowls. After the owls preen their feathers prior to taking flight and the armadillos cross nearly vacant roads and possums trample the ground in search of nighttime meals. After all these things take place, a tree exhales in exultation.
This tree, a tall oak in the late summer’s busyness inhales first a breath of thanksgiving then exhales its exultation deep and slow. The oak tree is thankful for its roots that drink in the rains and morning dew. Thankful for branches that didn’t snap with the strong westerly winds. Thankful the woodpecker didn’t bore too deep, and the weevils didn’t munch too long. This tree observes dusk and prays prayers of gratitude that the lightening didn’t strike it down and the drought didn’t linger around, and the eleven-year-old who climbed it earlier today returned safely to the ground. The tree, eternally grateful, blessed the ground for not eroding and a stray cigarette’s embers for not exploding. The tree rejoices that squirrels call it home and its leaves provide shade for people who like to roam. The tree exults the honor of being photographed as a memory for someone wanting to appreciate life’s simple pleasures. How can it not rejoice to be a simple pleasure?
This tree lifts its branches just a little higher in its praise song as the twinkling stars brighten the night sky. It is alive. It is alive! It has been blessed with life. How wonderous this moment is to the tall oak tree. And even as it reflects on the coming changes of fall and the cold stillness of winter, this tree rejoices all the same. For it is thankful to have existed in any season through all types of weather rooted in this place to do what it was created to do. It bows its branches towards the heavens in reverence to the only wise God who created this tree and knows it intimately.
“Hallelujah!” the tree pronounces. “Praise the Lord!”