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  • Jane Wheeler

Just a Little Crooked...

I have a tree thing – I love trees, the feeling you get when you stand and look up, way up at a tall magnificent tree, or when you stand at the base of a tree, probably a cedar, with a girth so wide you cannot see around it. How about sitting under one on a hot sunny day, relieved as its branches spread over you and offer you cool relief and if you are lucky you can hear the wind flit against the leaves and hear it whisper.

Trees are one of those things in nature that you can take for granted even though they are around us everywhere in some form or another; trees in the mountains, trees in parks, trees in parking lots of the grocery stores.

I came to realize quickly after moving out of British Columbia that I took my trees for granted. In Alberta we do not have the same size of trees here where I live, we have trees but you have to look harder for the really “big” ones. What we do have became very interesting to me and as I studied the trees.

In one park I used to walk in I noticed a large number of trees growing at an angle, not straight up as we think most trees do. They were not twisted or crooked, they were straight but definitely growing directionally challenged. These trees were the ones that made me really take notice and look at the plight of trees. How did they get crooked?

Notice in this picture that almost all the trees are growing at an angle, it was not a windy day, nor did I tilt my camera, this is how they grow.

These directionally challenged trees were growing on this angle because of the wind. These trees stood right in the path of an almost constant and steady dose of wind. Sometimes more of a breeze, other times a definite steady wind, often with gusts and then for some days, a squall of sorts, complete with a “northeaster” that would make having a good hair day almost impossible. There was not often a day were these trees did not get some kind of wind pushing against them. It caused the trees to grow on an angle. They might look strange but they still were growing.

I love this tree, I made my husband stop the truck so I could get a picture. This tree and perhaps 2 others grew with a definite curve, the other trees around it were straight.

Either way, straight or crooked, the trees still grow, they still produce their foliage, they still are firmly rooted in the ground, the crooked ones probably even more so than other trees, because they have had to hang on for their very existence, they just look a little different.

Isn’t that just like people, these trees remind me of people.

I mean all of us have had some “push back” or pressure when life hit us now and again, for the most part we can bend and sway and take it, regain ourselves and keep on growing. No one looking at us would know we had been hit.

Then for others, life comes in waves, it “pushes back” on a regular basis, this might cause us to sway and bend for longer periods of time. And for some, life seems to be a continuous “push back”, we regularly face the pressure of blustery winds, we have a hard time growing against the pressure, but we do it.

When life pushes against you, you start to lean for the pressure is great. The leaning might be temporary, as in a tree swaying with the wind. The leaning might be more pronounced like a tree bowing down to the ground or the leaning might be so constant that the tree grows at an angle. For some, just like a tree that cannot withstand the fiercest winds, they snap off and fall to the ground. The pressure of life and wind is just too hard.

Can you tell by looking at a forest which trees will withstand the next gale? Not usually, although sometimes looking at their fruit, foliage will give us signs of weakening.

When we survey people, we cannot see if they have been hit by a breeze, a wind or even a gust. Others we can tell, have deep roots, life has hit them hard and they are solidly grounded, they might not stand quite so tall and straight, but those are the ones who usually have branches they can spread over others to help and protect them on their way to recovery.

Consider what are we rooted in and how deep do our roots go? Are we ready to stand and face the next gusty gale that is headed our way?

God says He wants to be our deep root – nothing that happens to us is out of His watchful eye. We might not like it, we might even hate it, but like the trees that grow under pressure, the deeper our roots grow, the more solid we stand, even if we look a little crooked.

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