My dad was a log scale, he was a man who spent all day out side, no matter the weather, rain, snow, sun… it was his job. His job, or, shall I say what he did, was measure timber. * If you have ever seen a truck on the roadway carrying timber, that timber needs to be measured so they now how many board feet there are. My dad would climb up on the timber loaded on the trucks and measure it.
It wasn’t really the job I wanted to tell you about, but life, and what my dad showed and taught my brother and I. Often you don’t realize what you have learned until you need it or somehow use the knowledge.
I love trees, the strength they represent as well as the flexibility and frailness. Looking at the photo with this post you will notice the rings in the tree. Most of us know that is how you can tell how old a tree is. Count the rings. On camping trips we were sent into the woods and told to find a tree and count the rings. Was this to educate us or to have a little parental alone time? Maybe both. As you look at the rings in a tree you will find how its life was. There are tiny spaces between rings, large spaces, darker and lighter. These all reveal to us what happened to the tree in its life time. Was there enough water, did spring come early, was it cold, did the tree have enough light. We can also see if the tree contracted a disease or insects infestation. So much by looking at the stump of a tree or a cut piece of wood.
I always found this fascinating. Now, as a photographer, and writer I can apply the tree age theory to our lives as people. We may not have visible rings, ones that others can count anyway. Well, our age in years. Ah yes, the years. How are the years for us…?
Are we worn, beaten and battered? Have we had years of drought? Do we have rings that are just the right size to indicate a good year of growth? Well watered, good sun, mild winter, no bugs. Many of us would have to say our good years come and go. Just like a trees.
If others could see our rings, know the depths of our lives maybe there would be kinder words spoken, compassion shown, and love shared. So quick are we to judge, so quick to blame or label. Each of us has earned the rings in our lives, and they are rings because we have made it through the year, full circle.
Standing in the woods, breathing deep the musky dampness of pine needles and dirt, look around. Not all trees are the same. Neither are people. Some are small and frail, others towering and strong. Looking, breathing, living, striving, we all reach toward the light. For growth, for warmth, for direction and guidance. For a tree, growing up is a good thing. So too we should grow, up, in Christ, toward the light. Gaining strength, gaining wisdom, and digging our roots down deep, nourished by Him, until the day we have come full circle. Amen