At each place I’ve lived, I’ve found my favorite tree. When I was a preschooler, our family moved into a three-bedroom bungalow that already had several established trees in the garden. My favorite tree was the apple one in the backyard. It grew faster than I did; so, by the time I was old enough to climb trees, it was ready for me.
Its limbs were strong and smooth. And it produced an abundance of tart golden apples each summer, apples we ate straight from a branch or after they were buried under a lightly browned piecrust ale-mode.
But my favorite memory of this friendly giant was when I was perched high in its arms and enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of our neighbor’s vegetable garden that had straight rows of beans, lettuce, and corn, bordered by a lovely menagerie of annual and perennial flowers. That garden helped sow a desire in me for the tickety-boo life that eluded our family.
Years later, the house my husband and I raised our children in was surrounded by six acres of trees. Our favorite tree was a huge pine visible from our dining-room. We hung our hammock under it. And when our children had birthdays, we hung the pinatas from one of its branches. Though nothing tame grew beneath the old pine, many sweet memories germinated within its evergreen embrace.
Our present home is also surrounded by trees. My favorite tree was an arbutus—until it died. But one day, when I looked out an upstairs window, I noticed a tree that always looked good no matter what season it was: our magnolia tree. She dons grey fuzzy pods in the winter, pale pink blooms in the spring, verdant leaves all summer, and a chartreuse sweater in the fall.
Her limbs are smooth and strong. And although my children and I are not interested in climbing trees anymore, my grandson enables us to relive the experience vicariously; he climbs into a low-lying crook and smiles at me while I lean against the lovely magnolia’s steady arms. This tree’s friendly ways have helped cultivate another generation of memories worth tucking into our harvest basket. For sweet bygones, like fluffy kittens, grow and scurry into adulthood too fast if we don’t take time to linger and hold onto the delicate moments while they’re fresh as the last breath we’ve taken.
Beautiful trees also remind me of a future one waiting for us to partake of its healing leaves and satisfying fruit. I often think of it when our magnolia tree is flush with flowers. Glimpses of Heaven’s glory are most prevalent in spring. The newness, the aliveness, and the loveliness leave a longing in me to meet my favorite tree in Paradise.
The Tree Of Life:
She stretches strong arms out
Inviting us to become like little ones
Who readily receive and relish
The ambiance of God’s Presence
And the serenity of not needing to know
all the answers this world would rush to dismiss as childish.
I’m nosy-to-know if you ever long to see the gardens of paradise?
On each side of the river stood a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:2 NIV