Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tree {at Lisa-Jo's Five-Minute-Friday}

{Joining up with the linkies over at Lisa-Jo’s today… her Five-Minute-Friday prompt this week is: tree.  Come join!}


Across from our first house in Central Asia there was a tree.  It was a beautiful poplar, and what I love about poplars is that they stretch their branches straight up to heaven.  Every time I passed that tree with first my 18-month-old and my bulging belly, then later my two-and-a-half-year-old and my infant in a stroller, I would follow the shape of the branches up into the blue sky, and inevitably my thoughts would turn to God.  I would take in a deep breath, exhale it, walk a little more slowly.  Return to being all there, right where I was.  I would usually smile at my little boys, point at the tree, remind them how beautiful it was.

And then, one day, they cut it down.

And I realized that here, in Central Asia, things like economizing and firewood and making room for telephone and power lines are just more important.  These people I live amongst just do not have the time and energy to appreciate art.  Art as we traditionally think of it is not necessary to their breathing, like it is to mine.  They do listen to music - at weddings and from car stereos, and they do frame photos - of grandparents and honored relatives.  But God’s art being all around us?  A tree pointing the way to heaven?  Those are things that rarely, if ever, cross their minds.  

So I cried.  I cried, as I snapped photo after photo of the demise of my friend.  I blogged about it, cried some more, snapped more photos.  I grieved, unreasonably some might say.  But the thing is, there is so little real beauty around me and I scrape to find what there is, because I need it for the health of my soul… so when a huge piece is destroyed, just to feed someone’s fire for the winter or because it’s getting in the way… I can’t help it.  Something aches and oozes inside of me.

I went outside one day, across the street.  I couldn’t take it any more.  I knew I was the weird foreigner risking ridicule, but I had to ask someone.  Why?  No one had a good answer to give me - the worker men were just doing their job.  So I never got the real answer, but I don’t think it would’ve mattered anyway.

What mattered was the tree was gone.  And I miss it.  Still do.  

Amazing how a tree can be a signpost to God’s heart.


(links and photos added after my 5 minutes finished)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Carolyn,

    Lovely and touching post. And yes, here in Asian countries, you'll find people cutting trees for a living. They're so poor, they don't have money to even buy a stove. We sure have gas now since more than two decades, but I remember when I was very young, my grandma used to light a home-made ... you wouln't call it a stove. We called it choolha in Hindi. It's made up of bricks and you put dried twigs inside it and light a fire. Then you put a pot over it to cook anything. People in Indian villages still use this method to cook. But today this is decreasing.

    Anyway, thanks for posting your story and experience. you can read mine on my today's post too. We still have some trees around our house, including two mango trees. Fungus did strike it a few years ago but it survived it and is okay now. I love my mango tree, which is the best one you'd get at least in India - Alphonso Mango Tree. :)

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