Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wood has Hope

I said to the almond tree, speak to me of God,
and the almond tree blossomed.
-Nikos Kazantzakis
It happens every Spring and I am always in awe. An old gnarled tree, twisted, and crooked stands like a sentinel on our monastery grounds. It looks as though nothing living could possibly emerge from its dead wood. And then suddenly there are blossoms! I am always a little fearful that this might be the year it will not blossom; yet it never disappoints. It is a flowering almond tree. Since the blossoms do not last long I try to spend as much time with it as possible in the blossoming season.
In this new spring season, while reflecting on the tree, I was given the insight that perhaps I need to also spend time with it, in its dormant season. "Wood hath hope" the Jesuits sing in one of their old songs. Then I remember the wonderful quote from Job 14:7 about the miraculous power of life in what seems to be dead wood.
There is hope for a felled tree, it can always start its life again.
The roots may have grown old, the stump may be rotting in the ground
but with the first scent of water hope can return;
it still has power to put forth green shoots. And sometimes it does!
Wood Hath Hope! Let's try to remember that on the gloomy days when we can't find spring in our bones; when it appears that life has dried up, that hope is gone. The return of blossoms is such a good metaphor for our spiritual lives. One of the things I 've noticed about our Flowering Almond is that many of the blossoms emerge right out of the trunk, not on the branches. it is as though the blossom can't wait to arrive. No time to grow a branch? Just come right on out of the wood! Sometimes life can't wait! Your life is waiting!


  1. Beautiful photo..and I love to think the blossom has burst out from the trunk, unable to wait. Your spring arriving and autumn here in New Zealand... the amazing dance of the seasons goes on regardless of war, earthquake or tsunami...what a dance!

  2. Ah thank you! Just what I needed to read, just at the right time.

  3. Macrina, Thank you for sharing. I love springtime and I especially love all the redbud trees blooming here in Texas ,where I live, this time of year. I read your post a few days ago and the next day as I was walking into Mass, the redbud tree that stands next to the church was in beautiful bloom and there were buds coming right out of the wood and I could not help but think "Wood Has Hope". I had to go and take a picture of them as you had done of your almond tree as I know the blossoms don't last long on the redbuds either. The pictures turned out beautiful as the stained glass windows of the church show in the background. I just wanted to let you know how you touched my heart and how God touches my heart when the redbuds bloom each year. May God bless you and your work. Sincerely, Patricia