Planted by streams

Young trees seem to grow in one of two ways in the Black hills.  The first way is for a single wedge-shaped wing of a pine cone to catch the wind, blow into a crack high on a granite face, land in two teaspoons of dust and grit, and begin growing straight out of the rock.  If you’ve looked at Paul Horsted’s photos you’ll see that some of these tough “rock” trees are well over one hundred years old. 

The other way to plant a tree around here is to lovingly dig a very large hole, fill it with decent top soil, water it generously, wrap the healthy young trunk to keep the rabbits away from the bark, fence it at least six feet high to keep the deer from eating the leaves, water it some more, pray that the hail or wind don’t snap it in two, and then enjoy its blossoms in the spring.

Some have compared planting pine trees verses decorative trees to planting dandelions verses orchids.  If you’ve ever had a lawn you have noticed that it is quite easy to grow a healthy crop of dandelions.  Orchids on the other hand are so fragile that they require precise temperature, sunlight, humidity, fertilizer, and much tender loving care.  However, those who have happened upon a wild, lady slipper orchid in a remote, Black Hills creek bed will be startled by its beauty.  Sometimes it is well worth the work to create an environment where even an orchid can bloom.

                The book of Psalms begins with the image of the people of God being like a tree planted by a stream of water.   I like to think that the stream sometimes is natural, like rainwater that is funneled into a tiny crack, allowing a tree to grow in a seemingly impossible place.  Other times that stream is created by intensive human work in order that the tree can be grown where we need a tree to be.   There is a place for both dandelion trees and orchid trees in the kingdom of God.

Speaking of trees, we’ve begun our most recent landscaping project at the church.  The front lawn has been torn up and hopefully in the next few days we will have three new trees planted.  We will plant them with love looking forward to beautiful blossoms and a reminder that it is worth the work to create environments where God’s creation can thrive.

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