"All the leaves are off the trees," my husband noted as we were driving home from KC at Thanksgiving. And he was right. That's sad, I thought, until I started examining the bare trees more closely.
A leaf-less tree is beautiful and fascinating. You see the bare structure lying underneath that supports everything. Some have thick, solid trunks and branches . . . some have branches that grow upward, some downward, some in a complicated maze of tangles . . . some have empty cavities where a significant appendage has been torn from the base . . . some end in feathery wisps of twigs haloing around the edges of the plant. It's like seeing into the soul of the tree.
Some were dark brown . . light brown . . gray . . and a few here and there were stark white. They stood out against the others dramatically, every crook of every twig clearly apparent against the backdrop of its darker grove-mates. I've known people who, I would guess if we saw their souls, would have stood out against the crowd like those white-barked trees. And wouldn't I love to be one of those people! Praying every day for God to wash the grime from my soul so I shine white like those trees.
I thought for a minute that I would like to be one of the large trees with the thick trunk and branches. With a solid, heavy structure that would stand up to the wicked Great Plains winds -- no blowing me down! Then I remembered our big elm and the damage it got in last June's storm. Maybe it would be better to have a thin, flexible trunk -- one that bends to let the mean winds pass by and then rights itself again.
Tough to choose, really. Because some storms in our life need to be allowed to pass harmlessly by while we wisely step out of the way, and others need to faced with upright defiance. And still other storms will do their damage no matter how we choose to approach them. Far better, I suppose, to have deep, widespread roots that keep you anchored through it all and give you the means to survive and thrive after the winds have taken their toll.