Saturday, March 15, 2014

Daylight Shining Through a Tree

By the time I arrived, the trapeze artist was already at work high overhead, a trail of fine wood chips floating through the air beneath him as a chainsaw spun short work of another limb.

The next few hours was a careful dance between the man in the air and his father on the ground.  The elder one yelled out the order of the tree's destruction--this limb first, then cross to the other branch and take that one.  The younger man methodically moved in turn.  Although he was too high off the ground to see the spikes grabbing the bark, I knew they were there, making seem easy what was not.

An audience of nine watched these partners from front row seats.  Metal teeth chewed through pulpy flesh and dropped one heavy appendage after another to shake the earth.  The young man performed flawlessly with this tool, his airborne stance always seeming casual, relaxed, as if he were standing two inches off the ground.  Yet, the bright orange harness and web of ropes tethering him to the limbs above and below showed the true danger of his situation.

With one hand, he held the spinning saw; with the other, he balanced against the rough bark that bounced beneath his weight.  One wrong move, and he would have been suspended between heaven and earth like a spider, completely dependent upon the thread that connected him to safety.  Still, his nonchalant attitude communicated complete trust in that network of ropes.
That was Friday, not exactly the activity we had planned for the week's end.  Only a few days before, my Uncle had just happened to look up into the backyard oak tree and see a crack where the main trunk branched into an oversized letter Y. 

"You can see light through it," my mother related to me over the phone.  Even though I'd yet to see the crack, I knew this was bad news, especially since that part of the Y soared outwards and over my Grandmother's house.  When the sap came up and added the heaviness of plush springtime foliage to the many small branches at its tip, the limb would come down on her roof.  No question.

Sure enough, as soon as the weight of that limb was cut off, the crack went back together so that only a small ray of light still shone through.

All of us who witnessed the successful felling of a major tree couldn't help but shake our heads in utter awe of the miracle of it all.  I don't know about the men in your family, but the men in ours aren't in the habit of walking around looking at nature.  They could even be accused of being unobservant at times.

And yet, God showed my Uncle this problem at exactly the right time to save my Grandmother's house from a lot of damage in just a few short weeks.  For that, I am grateful and humbled, being reminded once again that my God sees all and that He cares for us both in the little and the big things.

Sometimes, we just have to look up to see it.
Image: Tree crack after most of the Y limb had been taken safely to the ground, our trapeze artist, and my twins pretending to be the tree.

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