A tree is such a common sight, that we rarely consider how uncommon it is. In the spring when the saplings begin to appear, we may pause briefly to reflect on childhood adventures—tree houses, gunny sack swings, and puppy love initials deeply etched in the dark colored ridges of once skin smooth bark.
Trees are utilitarian—they serve and fulfill many of our needs. Due to its thorny disposition, Osage Orange was idealized in the past century as fence material. Oak has been the wood of choice to decorate the living quarters of many homes, and baseball enthusiasts are thrilled when they hear the exhilarating crack of an Ash-made bat launching a baseball into the depths of center field.
But, utilitarian is an insufficient adjective. Unique is perhaps a more adequate description. A tree, you see, never really dies. Even though a tree may be harvested, milled, and kiln dried, it is reborn every time a craftsman touches it.
This remarkable aspect of the tree is often overlooked. A good example of this is the community or school orchestra. After hearing a stirring rendition of Bach or Beethoven, the concert attendee may comment on the beauty of the stringed section. If, however, there were no trees, there would never have been a violin or a fiddle; and, what about the music that reverberates from these stringed instruments? Do we hear the sound of the strings alone, or is it the life of the wood that lends its vitality to these artistic endeavors?
The life after death potential of a tree is almost unlimited. The first Psalm speaks about a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. The roots of this tree run deep and the fruit it bears is seasonal and sweet.
Long after we die, and we are little more than a memory, the fruit of our influence will live on. What will your influence be? Will it be the sweet and melodious sound of a violin or will it be an unwanted round of chagrin?
I hope this thought keeps you thinking.