When my daughter was eight and I was a new Christian, our second floor apartment at the back of the complex overlooked a home with a grandfather oak and a stand of four Florida pines in the back yard. I wrote my first poem while watching God change the oak’s silhouette into the filigree of inky black lace one day at sunset. And those tall, thin Florida pines swaying together, yet somehow alone, in a late night thunderstorm stirred me to start my first book.
Our next apartment was a 900 square-foot one bedroom, where we lived in from my daughter’s fifth grade through her graduation. Outside the bedroom window stood another grand old oak of a different sort. This one had thinner branches that caught the slightest wind all day long.
When Sharon was 16 and began taking the car to work on Saturdays, I sat in the rocker with a cup of coffee, staring at that tree and writing for most of the day. The gentle movement of wind through that tree made the leaves reflect the bright sunlight like so many little diamonds. Those Saturdays looking out at that tree were the first long days I had ever had to devote to uninterrupted writing. Writing all day helped me get over missing Sharon and start accepting that she would one day leave home..
When we finally had our own little townhome, after 15 years of apartment rent, we had our very own grandfather oak — that we owned! My bedroom felt like a treehouse. My view was through broad, far-reaching branches. I felt like I was in God’s own arms for the 19 years we lived there.
Next came my daughter’s home in Austin—which I shared for two glorious years as a live-in Nana. Sharon’s home was surrounded on all sides and as far as you could see by old, established trees. I smiled as I rocked my grandsons and watched the seasons truly change the leaves, for the first time in my native Floridian life. As I did so, God was dramatically changing my heart, preparing me for the next phase of our life together.
Today, in my tiny one-bedroom apartment not far from my daughter’s home (and my grandsons!) I again have a huge oak right outside my window and in the distance mature trees of all kinds. As I write each day, He always reminds me that one reason He put trees on earth is because they are “pleasing to the eye.”
“And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye [emphasis added] and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9 NIV)
Thank You, dear dear Father, for giving me eternal life, through loving and knowing Your Son Jesus. And thank You, Father, for sending your Holy Spirit. Thank You for the way He moves in my heart, just like the wind through the trees. I like how You explained in John 3:8 that the Holy Spirit is like the wind. I feel His gentle, loving touch, but I don’t understand where He comes from or where He goes. I just know He is right here with me, as I look at this beautiful tree. I love You, Lord!