The Ever-Changing Picture

Today I’m writing for Five Minute Friday, where we write flat out for five minutes, unedited, on a one-word prompt. Join the fun with your own post or just read what others have done with their 300 seconds. Check it out at Today’s word is Tree.

I sit in the office where I spend a part of each day, writing, and I stare at the hillside framed by the windows in front of me.  It’s the same picture I see every day, a steep hill rising up from our driveway, covered with oak and hickory and maple trees.

But it’s a different picture, too.  Because the trees that, such a short time ago, provided a green canopy over the hill, so lush and thick that I couldn’t even glimpse the sky from my chair at the desk, are now mostly bare sticks waving spindly fingers at a clearly visibly sky in a breeze that can’t be felt on the ground.  The leaves that were, just before I last blinked, bright yellow and orange and red, painting the hillside with colors that caught my breath and drew my eye away from the computer so often that I began to write at night, when it was dark, just so I could get something done, were now uniformly brown, dry and curling on the ground, with the exception of the few stubborn ones that remain withering on the branches.

After the next big wind or rain, those few leaves will be down, too, and then the picture will be different again.  It’ll be a bare hillside with bare trees sticking up into a cold, bright sky.  That’s the picture I’ll look at for the next few months, until spring brings the buds and things begin to change again.

And yet despite all these changes, despite the winds and the rains that buffet these trees and rip the leaves from their branches, despite the trees changing from thick and lush and green and protective to glorious and bright and beautiful to brown and bare and spindly and bleak, one thing never changes.  The trees are still there.  They stand in the same place, year in and year out, providing what God has decreed they should provide for the season they are in, accepting the storms, in fact needing the storms – water to feed them, wind to pull their old leaves off so there is a place for the new leaves come spring, even lightening to strike occasionally, causing fires that cleanse and nourish the forest.

I’ve been in a place where everything has changed for me. I’ve retired and moved across the country.  What I thought was going to be a fun and glorious time has turned out to be one of the most difficult of my life.  I feel as if my leaves have all been stripped and I am bare now, somehow, exposed and uncertain and nothing – nothing – like the tree I used to be.

But this I know.  I am God’s daughter.  I struggle to remember that He has provided everything I need for the season I am in.

So, like the trees outside my window, I am determined to stand here, where I am planted, and serve the purpose here that He has for me.  I will let my roots sink deep in Him, and draw my nourishment from Him.  Like a tree planted by the water, I will not be moved.


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