Welcome to my friend, Marie, from The (not always) Lazy W. She’s an amazing thinker/writer so check out her blog when you’ve got time to get lost in a swirl of goodness!
I was zoned out running in the back field Wednesday morning, listening to either Eminem or Godsmack or something else equally endorphonish, when something caught my eye. It startled me actually, although I have seen it a thousand times before. It was this tree and its giant root system, exposed to the sky…
|This photo was taken immediately after the tornado.
You can see that the pine needles still face the tree’s original “up.”
Today they point towards the sky.
A little over two years ago, a large and very strong tornado barreled up the western slope of our farm, thrashing the trees and ground but (fortunately) just grazing our house. Despite seeing the rain-wrapped beast with my own eyes through the kitchen window, it happened so quickly that we barely understood what it was until the next morning. Because, seriously, around here the wind comes sweeping down the plain a lot! Like, a 40 mph gust could be called breezy.
Handsome and I walked around our property and discovered tree after tree either snapped off at the ground or skinned naked of bark. Fences were tangled. All kinds of debris (both our and our neighbors‘) was scattered everywhere. We found just exactly what Oklahomans expect to find after a tornado, only thankfully this time our house and our animals were more or less in tact. So thankful.
|So much of the nearby forests was stripped down to stubble.|
|This poor family lost their entire roof, and many others lost much more.
We were so blessed to take a hit and only replace shingles.
Okay, so that is why that tree looks this way. I am quirky, but I would never plant a tree in this position on purpose. I swear it was a tornado, you guys.
What is fascinating to me is that after two years of being toppled and having its almost feathery and so crucial root system exposed to our extreme conditions (sub zero winters, triple digit summers, record breaking drought), this pine tree is alive. More than alive, really, it seems to be thriving, albeit in a slightly different posture than before.
It is not thriving just because it has a good attitude, though I do personally believe that plants can pose themselves positively or negatively in this world. Why are goat-head stickers so hostile?!? Neither is it thriving because anyone drags the water hose and a bucket of manure out there every other day and keeps its nest of roots moist and fed. DUH. I do not have that much free time!
This tree is thriving because its tap root runs deep and sure. It reaches far beyond the parched dust of the sandy back field. It runs several meters past where the cruelest winds might whip it silly.This tree is in touch with something deep and sustaining enough for it to grow under the most unlikely circumstances.
Also, in addition to becoming strikingly beautiful in a brand new way, I see that now this pine tree’s exposed roots have become a shelter for small animals. The vacancy created by what was lost has become a home and solace for something else. If that’s not beautiful, you guys, I don’t know what is.
What about us? How well established are our roots, and how vicious a storm can we withstand and still thrive, still grow? Even if some of the peripheral attachments we make in life are torn out and exposed to deadly elements, are we securely tapped into something more permanent? Can we enjoy many more seasons of new growth and beauty? Where do we face, towards the past or upwards?
Personally, I can point to each trauma in my life so far and recall whether at that time I felt peace or fear. I can also remember how I fared in the wake of each storm, whether I crumpled into myself, risking dehydration and decomposition…or whether I was deeply fed enough to just turn my face upward and change direction.
My connection to that deep Source of Life has been tested lately. So I am unreasonably happy to have noticed that tree today. I am so grateful to see its unusual beauty, its new bright green pine needles, the yoga pose it does all day as the sun moves over the back field. I am reminded that life’s features and posture change, sometimes permanently, but it all remains beautiful.
Stay connected, friends, to the best stuff. Find Love and Truth and never let go. If (when) a storm topples you but you are still alive and connected to that fountain of Life that never runs dry, then you have hope for life, beauty, and joy. You might even be used for a purpose you never imagined.
“Surviving is Important;
Thriving is Elegant.”