Friday, March 21, 2014

The Wonder of Welcoming Pines

A journal I think maybe
my uncle gave me
when I was a little girl
I have been filled with wonder at the climbing of a tall pine tree. The climb was as thrilling and invigorating as getting to the top. The sweet scent of the sap and the way it stuck to my hands, its partially crystallized syrup giving me extra cling to my climb. The tree knew my insecurity and handed me a tool of empowerment.

The wind spoke to me as it swayed me back and forth. The terror was only the delicious kind of being in a headier atmosphere high off the ground; I knew I was safe and would never, could never fall- the terror was of who I could be, not my circumstances.

The idea of not being afraid of harm was an assurance like no other I've had in this life. The absolute knowing that I was unshakeable. And free. And who cared if the adults found out later because I had already had my moment.

Trees and I have always been good friends, though I must say at eighteen, I had a great deal of prejudice for the dense foliage of the pine trees of the south when my family relocated there. They are not as easy to find rest in. They can be all barbs and bristles. But thankfully there are some lovely old magnolias standing about. They are not of the same elvin fairness of northern pines, but they are gracious and inviting with a warm hospitality that still feels like home.

I have not found the same welcome in the midwest. The trees here are stand-offish. I am permitted to admire them from afar, they remind me of what I once had, but I am never invited to nestle in their outstretched arms. The trees here see how heavy I have grown and they do not wish to carry me. At least they have the goodness to smile and wave and maybe one of them is waiting in a backyard somewhere longing to be adopted. That is something I hope for.
Inside the journal
where I kept all my poems

The words often visited me in the trees on the days of childhood when I felt a need for words. I have a recurring passion in writing poems, dating back to my early days of nestling in high branches. It was easy to hear the Spirit’s inspiration then.

I haven't the trees now, but the wind still blows where she pleases. Her language is surely poetry to me. I accept this and see it as a gift to aid me in the present. To comfort, call me to worship, confront, or simply allow myself to be. To be able to communicate even when most words would normally fall flat, but arranged in poetry, they can be a meaningful expression to rest in.

I believe, as the Giver believes, in sharing abundantly, especially with those who feel the heaviness of living I’d rather forget I carry with me. I want all to look forward to the new inspiration of tomorrow, as I now do. 
 I want to be the welcoming pines of my childhood.

I am of the trees
swaying holy
drawn by currents
above and below

I lift up my hands
in gratitude
guided by love
to receive and heal

I am in the middle. 4 of my 6 siblings are featured with me. :)


  1. I love this, Jamie, and the part about finding inspirations while in the trees brought to mind this quote I read just last night in Edith Schaeffer's HIDDEN ART OF HOMEMAKING: "It is in nature, among the things which God has created, designed and brought forth HImself, that we are in the most natural atmosphere to be inspired." Isn't that cool?

  2. I'm glad I had that good start. I thank you for allowing us that freedom. Yes, that is cool. Nature is always inspiring. Even if I can't be out in it I have a trove of memories and still hear the call. I love you!

  3. Jamie, this is really beautiful, and I had so many memories of climbing trees when I read it. My 5 year old granddaughter has a climbing tree: a white pine. Her father has cleared out the smaller branches and Vita and her play group can all climb in the tree up to about 12 feet. I am writing a children's story now about two stuffed animals that get left the base of that tree. So many memories of trees - the two sycamores in front of my grandmother's house; the California live oaks in front our my childhood home. Last year I climbed a cedar at my daughter's farm. I have to climb the Norway Maples behind my house to cut off the branches that block the solar collectors. All my 71 years I have climbed trees. Thanks for the memories.

  4. Ah, another tree loving friend. Yay! I'm so glad your granddaughter gets to climb trees. It's a priceless experience for a child. For us all, really. I'm glad to have brought back some good memories.


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