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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Why a cypress and a fig tree?

I look out my back window and spot the rusty fall foliage of our cypress tree. In line behind it, is a bare-branched fig tree. Earlier this spring, the fig was loaded with forming fruit. But a dry summer and birds stole my delicious harvest this year.

As I take in the sight, my curiosity is challenged. Although he never considered himself a gardener, both of these trees were planted, grown, and tended by my husband. Nothing else growing on our property ever got his attention.

Just for fun, I googled both the cypress and the fig, seeking their symbolism.

The cypress was associated with death and the underworld because it failed to regenerate
when cut back too severely. It is considered a symbol of mourning and in the modern era it remains the principal cemetery tree in both the Muslim world and Europe.

Among the oldest types of tree in the world, cypress trees date back over 150 million years. An interesting correlation, in many countries including China and Japan, cypress is one of the woods commonly used in coffin construction. Its wood is known to be water-resistant, strong and durable and is commonly used in boat-making even today, God commanded Noah, "So make yourself an ark of cypress wood” in Genesis 6:14.

The Biblical connection for the fig tree is even stronger. Adam and Eve used the leaves of the fig tree to sew garments for themselves when they realized that they were naked. Remember when Jesus cursed a fig tree in the New Testament? The fruit of
the fig-tree normally appears before the leaves. If the tree produced leaves it ought also to have had fruit. Was that the reason Jesus cursed it...because of no fruit?

I find it interesting that one tree figured in the beginning of life and the other connected with the end. I don't know what attracted my husband's interest to these two particular trees. Something I must remember to ask of him when we are re-united. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the pleasing sight and...maybe next year...some fruit.



Thursday, October 19, 2017

An Interesting Observation


Several years ago my husband, a friend, and I spent a spring Saturday morning planting pine seedlings. I lost count once we passed one hundred. Off to one side of the major planting, I set out six trees, all by themselves.

Recently, in order to make way for a house being moved onto the property, a thirty-foot-wide easement had to be cleared. Lots of trees had to come down as a result, leaving mounds of cut branches to be disposed of. Resting from my labors, I sat in my lawn chair and contemplated those six trees, now grown, tall and straight.

Two have only a stump remaining, having to be cut down. three others look naked with branches on one side cut away. The remaining tree left standing has branches crowded from another tree too close by. Out of the six trees, all planted at the same time, only one remains intact, reaching for the sky.

Gazing at these trees got me thinking about life. Some lives are cut short early by happenings beyond their control. For others, their growth is altered by circumstances but they continue to flourish. Still others maintain a full life in spite of life's pressures reshaping their growth.

In most instances, we have no control over the bumps and twists taken on our life's path. All we can do is grab what comes our way and make the most of it. If that sound pessimistic, it's not. Face each day with optimism, seeking to share love and do the best you can with what you have.



Thursday, October 12, 2017

It Happens In Threes


What do you write about when life is a series of road bumps? And why do they always come three-at-a-time?

Compared to millions of people inhabiting this earth, I have a wonderful life filled with possessions that should remind me of how well off I am. But, when those same machines created to bring ease and comfort start to malfunction, I tend to bog down in stress.

It started with the act of adding window washer liquid to my newly-acquired Kia's tank. As the serviceman poured, I noticed a steady drip down below. Result? A leaking tank needs replacing.

Last week I opened my washer's lid to find the clean clothes standing in water. When my son had time to check it out, his recommendation was a circuit board needed replacing.

Recently fall arrived with a 40-degree drop of temperatures in a matter of hours. Needing a little warmth to take off the chill, I struggled to get the pilot light lit on my propane heater. Nope. Had to make-do with a portable space heater temporarily.

So, I started looking for the lesson in all of these inconveniences...and that's all they are, temporary inconveniences. I still have a roof over my head, food in the house, clothes to wear, and money in the bank. Well, enough money to pay my bills anyway.

I'm not mechanical so whenever something breaks down or malfunctions, I call for help.

My first realization was how much I depended on my now-gone husband to keep my life running smoothly for the fifty-nine years we were married. Then I gave thanks for a capable son who lives nearby and is always ready to come rescue me despite a ten-hour workday. And I know there is a world of people ready and willing to share the gifts they've been endowed with by God.

I've come to understand there will always be bumps in the road of life. My response is to just accept these short-lived troublesome times and keep reminding myself of how blessed I am. This too shall pass.