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  • Cathy Sweeney

In the Company of Trees

This weekend, I attended a retreat to help me focus on my writing.  The retreat was located in a hidden part of Austin, and a few times during the day, we were encouraged to head outside to help generate ideas – the concept that in the quiet, we can listen for the creative.

I chose to sit on the porch, to just be as peaceful as I could be; that was when I noticed the trees.


Aren’t they interesting, trees?  I sat on the porch, really looking at the trees in the yards, and I realized what an interesting system trees live in – one not unlike our own.

Trees are individual, some have white bark, some are yellowed, some dark brown.  Some are tall and stalwart, some frail and needing help.  Some stand straight, budding branches extending exactly according to a designed plan.  Others extend separate trunks from the roots, showing an independent streak.  Each tree shows us individual markings – marks of experience, colors of beauty, knots of pain and sprigs of hope.

Collectively, too, there is beauty.  The larger, more experience trees shade the younger ones, giving them room and time to grow.  They share fertile soil, nourishing each other with rich nutrients.  When rain comes, the branches from one tree reach out to the others to share necessities of life.  They live in community, with the gentle wind breathing spirit through the leaves and branches, reminding each tree that it is not alone, allowing a leaf to travel where the wind takes it.


How similar this is to humanity.  Each of us, created with different appearances; joined together through family and community, sharing resources with each other.  And when we allow it, the breath of the Holy Spirit blows through us like the wind, encouraging us to share our leaves of gold.


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