Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Green Leaves

 Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.

Ezekiel 47:12

Again with the drive.  When I took this job, I knew I would be in the car awhile, twenty miles each way.  About 30 to 35 minutes.  And I don't mind.  

I don't mind.  First, there's very little traffic.  It's the time of day.  I am fortunate in that I leave my house after early-morning rush hour, and I leave my job before most late-afternoon/evening congestion.  Second, my car is pretty darned comfortable.  I can heat the seat and the steering wheel in the winter, and it has an amazing sound system.  It's not too big and it's not too small; I like it's zip and maneuverability.  Finally, I love the view.

I like looking at houses.  Because the route I take is along county roads and highways, most of the houses are not cookie-cutter development homes.  There's variety.  Brick colonials, shingled capes, stone ranches.  There's one house with some kind of glass-cathedral type of addition, built right next to a stream.  As far as I can tell, the only way into the addition would be through the basement of the house.  By the time I reach the little section of town I work in, the houses have changed to turn-of-the-century victorian, with crenellated details and ginger-bread colors.  It kind of fascinates me, to think of all of the people who live and work - who make decisions about their homes - who get out and mow their yards and plant their flowers.  People with full lives - complete strangers.

I love looking at the trees.  So much of my way is tree-lined - tree-tunneled.  And again, like in the fall, the variety of color amazes me.  Green.  How many shades of green are there?  Mustard-yellow green, aspen green,  florescent spring-green, olive green, forest green, kelly green...shoot, I swear I've even see red-green.  This is my first spring in Virginia, and I feel rich beyond words.  In the last week, I feel like I could just about watch the leaves grow.  One day, buds.  The next day, leaves.  And it's just beginning.  Some trees bloom first - full-color blossoms.  Then they get their leaves.  I am thrilled to see the tall trees - those stately sentinels standing guard in the woods - I am thrilled to see them fill out.  At first, just a hint of green on limbs silhouetted on the sky.  Now, branches still visible, but green-lined with new leaves like little feathery wings. 

Yesterday, when I got home from work and turned the TV on, I watched in horror as the news agencies reported about bombs in Boston.  At the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Among the spectators - men, women, and children.  The bombs were made for destruction.  They were made to hurt people, and the news reports were full of descriptions and video of the broken - bodies, blood, glass.  My daughter came around the table to give me hugs.  She might not have understood the thoughts that were going through my mind - screaming silent thoughts of why, and anguished thoughts of deep sadness.  But she saw something in my face - something that told her to comfort.  I saw people helping others - emergency crews, soldiers, police, first responders.  I saw bystanders become upstanders - they did what they could to help.  Like my daughter.  I saw victims patient, silent, shockingly still, waiting for their turn.  We prayed together, for the injured and for their families, for the responders, for the ones who did this thing.  Could their lives have so little hope, so little love, so much despair - that they would do this thing?  To strangers?

Today, I'm thinking of trees.  How they bend, how they grow, how resilient they are, how they survive.

There are nine to ten references in the bible for green leaves (depending on the singular or the plural).  Mostly metaphors for a good life.  I can imagine.  I grew up in the desert.  These trees, these green leaves are the result of water and care.  They bear fruit; they give shade.  They offer respite from heat and glare.  They offer comfort.  They heal.  I am healed, everyday, on my drive to and from work.  I am healed when I go for a walk.  I am healed when I look out my doors and windows.  Today, I am thankful for trees.  Again.

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