Monday, January 16, 2012

Footpaths and Hollows

Last week we had some unseasonably warm weather in the area, so one day after school I decided to use an outdoor walk as my form of exercise of the day.  Using the elliptical at 4:45 in the morning is a great workout, but especially on these short winter days, a gal needs some fresh air and sunshine every now and then to keep her head clear and level. 

I went to a park near school, having been to it on occasion in the past.  However, as I made my way around the park on the usual course, I discovered a hiking trail that went into the woods behind the park ... and lo and behold!  What a beautiful trail it was!  The soft, compost-padded trail turned into a steep decline down the back of a huge hill that lead to the river valley below.  Gradually, the trail lead up the back of another hill, which turned onto the park's regular roadway.  As I walked along the path, here and there I found little signs the park service had posted, explaining the different trees and plants and their uses.

I marveled at how tall the trees were -- I estimate that the ones in the "hollow" were easily 30 feet high ... maybe more!   As I made my way along the lovely nature trail, occasionally I would stop at the base of a tree and run my eyes all the way up the trunk, likewise eying the nearby trees, wowed by how tall they were. The barren trees, naked from the winter cold, afforded me a view of the surrounding woods, stretching miles over the river valley.  I tried to imagine what these woods would look like in the spring and summer with wondrously green vegetation.  And, yet, its wintry, monochromatic nakedness was a work of beauty just as it was. 

As I am inclined to do in such moments of simplistic beauty, free of the world's distractions and mind-cluttering noise, I pondered how we are, indeed, so similar to these trees.  These incredibly tall trees, I noticed, had no branches until the very top.  Such a dense forest created a fierce field of sunlight competition, and the physical ramifications on the fauna were evident.  Obviously, in a deep ravine where sunlight is at a premium, trees do not waste a lot of energy on producing branches down where the sunlight won't reach.  Instead, they expend their energy in growing upwards, birthing branches at the top -- reaching for the sun and its light. 

We humans, frequently expend a lot of valuable energy where there is little pay-off and growth.   The world, in its distracting and fallen state, can cause us to stop looking upward to God and pull our attention and spirits down.  In order to grow, sometimes we finally realize that we must let certain, lower "branches" go -- no longer feeding these useless distractions with our precious energy and life force --  so that we can focus our concentration on higher, more nurturing things.  We must keep growing upwards toward God, supporting our fellow "trees" in the process and producing a beautiful canopy of life that offers shelter and nourishment to the "forest" below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Posts that advertise products or services or those that are vulgar will not be published.