A few doors down from our home is a majestic Copper Beech tree which is probably well over 100 years old. Of course it is technically an ‘invasive species’ as it isn’t a tree that grows naturally in BC. It is likely it was planted when the house (on which land the tree sits), was built.
During the last year or so there seems to be have been more time than usual to see this massive tree go through its deciduous annual cycle.
Just now (end-of-April) the leaves are coming into life, not least after the sunny spell we had recently. During the year (as you can see) the tree carries thousands of leaves and during the fall many of them come into our garden. I have no complaints as the colour and beauty of the tree make up for any yard work and we have a few cedars that also produce quality time in the garden!
In the northern hemisphere the season of the resurrection naturally coincides with the spring season. So as we reach the mid-point of Easter (April 29th) the tree shows forth its ‘resurrected’ life.
This year we have been all over the gospels (as it were). Mark only has one resurrection narrative, so both Luke and John have been used to ‘keep us’ in gospel passages. So on consecutive Sundays we had John and then Luke’s account of the followers of Christ encountering him after the resurrection. On April 25 (Easter 4) we kept Good Shepherd Sunday with the narrative about the sheepfold. The image of the shepherd and the sheep has deep roots in Hebrew literature.
As the pandemic continues, and we know that in-person worship is still some time off in the future, we all need some shepherding. There is a sense of fatigue and sameness about what is happening in our lives. For other people, especially medical practitioners, as well as hospital support staff, for teachers and other front-line workers, there is an on-going concern for the health and well-being of their families as well as for themselves. All of us would like life to return to a more ‘normal pattern’ with the opportunity to hang-out with our family and friends in ways we enjoyed prior to March 2020.
At the same time many of us can ‘count our blessings’. As we look at the world we see hospitals overwhelmed and a staggering rise in cases. As many wait for their vaccine, we see troubling situations in BC and elsewhere.
So we are encouraged constantly to stay local and be content with our situation. I am certainly grateful to be able to connect with many of our congregation via technology. It is not the same as meeting in person and it really doesn’t work for everyone. At the same time we can gather for worship, study, social events and meetings in this safe and convenient way. We are saving time and resources by staying home rather than travelling by car. In our parish the study groups we have initiated have been better attended remotely, than they were when we met in-person, as were some services in Holy Week.
Again the nature of my work life from home and the desire for walking for fresh air and some exercise have caused me to take more notice of this marvellous tree which I had not really taken so much time to view in the ten years or so we have lived in this house.
I do consider myself very fortunate to work from home and more so because there has been the opportunity to take more notice of the beauty of God’s creation, where a beech tree stands out amongst many cedars.
The neighbouring Copper Beech tree through the seasons
Photos: Christine Rowe