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The Tree Not to Be

My usual routine – if in fact, there’s anything usual or routine in our lives during this season – takes me over the famous Red Bridge of Kansas City multiple times each day.  The road dips down through a marshy area, does a quick zig, then zag, and crosses the Blue River.  It’s the scene of at least one minor accident every time the roads are a little bit wet, and because of this, your tax dollars are straightening the road.

It would appear that straightening the road – at least so far- means destroying trees.  A lot of trees.  They are knocked over with big equipment and fed into gargantuan wood chippers that leave steaming piles of mulch fifteen feet tile.  According to my friend, Jake, the steaming piles look like Jurassic dung heaps.

This morning as I drove down the hill into the Dung Heap Zone, I saw a tree that I hadn’t noticed before.  Or perhaps I’d never seen it from this angle.  Rather than standing tall and straight, as it has for decades, it had been knocked over.  The top fell away from the road so I was looking directly at the bottom of the trunk.

It was all of five feet in diameter.  A lot of the trees in this area are big, but this one was a monster…and other than a six inch ring of wood around the exterior, it was utterly hollow.  I did a double take.  There was no way to perceive it the day before.  It stood as if it were made of stone…but it was empty, decaying, and a hazard to anyone who may have sought shelter near it in a storm.

I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 1:1-3.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked nor stands in the way of sinners nor sits in the way of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night…he is like a tree planted by streams of water.

All trees fall one day.  I wonder how many we wander among every day are in fact hollow, intricate facades of gnarled bark that project a solid image but are really only shells.  They suggest that they are full of what they present to the world…but dead on the inside, and probably home to all sorts of critters.

Nobody wants to be that tree.


3 Responses

  1. every day when we drive past the trees, my 3yr old says, “how sad mama. the trees are down…… (pause for a moment) Look at those big piles of mulch!”

  2. Reminded me of 1 Samuel 16:7.

  3. I must confess, I have been mourning the loss of the trees.

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