“No one sees trees. We see fruit, we see nuts, we see wood, we see shade. We see ornaments or pretty fall foliage. Obstacles blocking the road or wrecking the ski slope. Dark, threatening places that must be cleared. We see branches about to crush our roof. We see a cash crop. But trees – trees are invisible.”
~ Richard Powers, The Overstory
I love trees. And I would like to make trees more visible through PartnerConnect reflections over the weeks of summer. Perhaps I can provoke you to look up a little more and appreciate the trees we often ignore or take for granted. Through his majestic novel, The Overstory, Richard Powers opened my eyes again to the miracle of trees. I recommend the book to you for inspiring summer reading. Perhaps trees can be for us, this summer, our visio divina – our view of the sacred.
In Richard Rohr’s Autumn 2019 publication, The Mendicant, Kaitlin Curtice writes:
When we moved across town last December, I had the opportunity to get to know the trees in our new backyard. At our old house, I’d become especially close to a pine tree in the far-left corner, a tree that I’d visit and pray with, one that consistently led me to God. Our new home is nestled beside a giant water oak, the kind that shelters and shades in the summertime, the kind that knows how grand they are. During Lent last year, I went out to officially introduce myself. I gently touched the rough skin of their trunk, greeted them in Potawatomi and in English, and wandered the yard, listening.
The world’s creatures speak of divine things, if only we would listen. There are welcoming presences all around us, if only we would take the time to notice. Maybe then, we’d treat the earth better than we have. Maybe then, we’d understand that it’s our duty to care for all creatures and, in so doing, to care for one another, our human kin.
What can we learn from trees this summer?
How can they connect us to the earth, to all living things?
How can they help us care for one another, our human kin?
In the summer weeks to come, I invite you on the adventure of paying attention – of waking up more fully to the overstory. Please join me in looking up.