A Forest of Sticks

My boy, Crash, spent hours outside this week in the wet and cold and mud, digging and planting the dead limbs of the Winter trees. He built a little forest in my muddy front yard that would have upset me if we had grass to ruin. But it's only mud and patchy green right now so I just watched the funny scene from inside.

One branch was particularly large, like a small tree, and Crash bolstered it up with mud and rocks to keep it from falling over. The wind took it down today and he told me how disappointed he was. "I should have chosen a bigger one," he said. You know there are no roots. There's no chance for new life in that branch. "Yeah, I know. Still..."

We talked about how roots are like faith and how without them, we will fall to the ground with the first stiff wind. The visible part is misleading, especially in Winter when all branches are bare, but time and weather reveal the truth.

We talked about the tree roots and how far and long they grow to provide balance and sustenance to the trees. "How do we know when a tree is dead?" In the Summer, we know because it is barren. In the Winter, we know when it falls... like your branch.

We talked about August and how those massive root systems reach far and deep to find water beneath the parched earth. I thought about how much this is like Lent...

... how we are surrounded by abundance of which we do not partake. And how we reach deeper...extend ourselves... to reach the hidden water which will sustain us when the consolations of Spring have passed. As we expand our capacity for life and love, we grow upward toward Him... and He shines upon us.

Our hearth is cold today. The branches outside are still bare (can we find the dead ones?). Now is the time to begin again and to dig deeper. To repent and to fall in love. We hope desperately for Spring and the green and the dew and the life. And yet we know that this grayness is really a stretching time.

When the Spring comes, leaves will sprout around us... and we will discover if we have roots or if we were just a stick... pretending... in the mud.
Posted on March 9, 2011 and filed under "Lent".