Monday, July 9, 2012

sycamore wounds

The storms come.  They never ask, just come--bringing their wild and wondrous winds.  And sometimes they take what I wish they would leave.  A few weeks ago the strong winds took another limb out of my Sycamore Tree.  Yesterday Gene pulled the fallen limb from the tree.  I sat beside the tree's relic this morning and thought about how much I have loved this tree. Soon the fallen branch  will be shredded for mulch.  It will keep on giving. 
In spite of all it has been through the Sycamore tree looks lovely in the summer.  Its huge, lush green leaves hide the wounds, and as for wounds, it has had its share. When winter comes that's another story.  Its jagged broken branches, its wounds and scars are so obvious when the leaves are gone.
 There are times when I am momentarily tempted to carry the cedar swing across the campus to the huge Sycamore tree near our labyrinth that seems to  have weathered the storms better.

  Of course I change my mind quickly because you see I am married to this tree.  I will stay with it through the storms just as I would hope to stay with all the beautiful people who pass through my life---through thick and thin, joys and sorrows, good seasons and harsh seasons.
In the process of writing about the broken limbs a friend sent me a poem that I cannot refrain from sharing.

Tree Marriage
By William Meredith
In Chota Magpur and Bengal
The betrothed are tied with threads to
mango trees, they marry the trees
as well as one another, and
the two trees marry each other.
Could we do that some time with oaks,
or beeches?  This gossamer we
hold each other with, this web
of love and habit is not enough.
In mistrust of heavier ties,
I would like the tree-siblings for us,
standing together somewhere, two
trees married with us, lightly, their
fingers barely touching in sleep,
our threads invisible but holding.
“Tree Marriage” by William Merdith,
From Effort at Speech.  ©Northwestern University Press, 1997

I very much like the suggestion that we hold each other by a thread, lightly.  It means that we do not cling and clutch, demand and bind, grasp and control.   We honor the truth that we are connected and it is a connection that respects one another.  How much we can learn from the trees.  Like them, we go on giving even after we die.

Find a tree to marry~~~
~~or maybe  you already have one.


  1. Sister Macrina, I have found that we are indeed a lot like the trees. We can look to nature to see each aspect of God which is also reflected in ourselves.. In winter, the hard time, the trees in their bareness have a special beauty too, although we have to be open to see it. They, with their broken place, their scars, show their vulnerability. And we are reminded of the blessed promise that we are perfected through our weakness. We see how strong, standing straight and tall, the trees pass through their difficult time. Then little by little, as winter lets go its difficulty, they tentatively put out their tender green leaves at first, a pale, testing green. Then as the sun caresses them they become more confident, and the robust, healthy, fullness of their beauty appears. This is much like when Jesus, God's Son, caresses us, and we learn to put our trust in Him, and we become strong and beautiful in our souls. So the trees teach to weather our problems and weaknesses...and how to trust in the One that brings Eternal Spring to our hearts.

  2. You do have a wonderful and faithful relationship with that sycamore tree!
    There is nothing better than a sheltering tree to sit beneath! Mine is an "old" cedar at the corner of our house which gives me a bit of shade and shelter where I can sit and enjoy my flower garden!

  3. Beautiful reflection, Macrina. The tree stands on Holy Ground and the Holy Ground will always be there.

  4. A lovely reflection. Thank you. I am not married to a tree. I just know that sometimes a tree invites me to hug it and I always comply. We share our sap, our strength, a bit of our soul :-)

  5. Mary Louise BaierJuly 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Beautiful Macrina, The Trees like us weather the storms of life as best as they can, Juat as we should as well.

  6. The adopting a tree is a beautiful concept and one I feel connects us with God. I believe most of us have done so unconsciously at some time in our lives. I can recall as a little girl looking out the kitchen window from our 3rd floor apartment and gazing at a giant tree in our neighbor's yard down the far end of the block. It was very tall and graceful and would blow ominously whenever a strong thunderstorm was approaching from the west in the summertime. I felt a special affection for that tree that I remember it to this day. Symbolically, I feel our attachment stems from the fact that trees represent constancy in our lives. They stand tall and strong often through centuries. We enjoy the predictability of seeing their leaves blossom every spring and bring color to our world in the autumn. Their growth gives us hope--year after year. Through our many losses during our earthly journey, they remain.

  7. Thanks Macrina!

    This reflection reminds me of the tree of the Cross where the terrible,tortured and wounded hangs to be with and suffer with us in our most deepest pains..( some of which we're not even fully aware of, until something jolts us into reality, like this morning when I was knocked off my bicycle)
    It is @ this point I reach out to grasp and embrace Him as my Beloved and I His, wed and webbed together eternally...

  8. Oh my! I have married more than one tree in my life...and have loved them so deeply! What beautiful images you have planted in my head...thank you!

  9. Macrina...i love this post...and i love your book...and hope your sycamore is swaying with the wind again soon.