I grew up in the places where trees are not afraid to touch one another. Woods and forests and glens were my homeland. And trees were for climbing and swinging free. The willow on campus with its long beckoning branches became my rope swing and my fort. The choke cherry made paint for sidewalks. The maples were for climbing and sneaking behind during hide and seek.
And come fall the trees would agree and risk exposure to dazzle us orange crimson burgundy yellow sienna and every shade inbetween. Oh I long for that fall now — kicking crispness under my boots as I strolled home from school; raking piles high and jumping in them. I never knew the significance of the beauty of those trees because they were home to me. And home is a place taken for granted while you are there. Now in a state that barely knows winter, the fall comes late and somewhat weak and I always get a bit sentimental thinking of what a real fall is.
There were trips to the dairy to get fresh whole-wheat donuts with our milk straight unhomogonized from the cow we just let lick our hands with that sandpaper tongue. We stopped at the apple orchard on the way home to climb up ladders and pick our own sassy tart and dripping sweet fruit, and then, of course, came home with a jug of cider to put on the stove with cloves and cinnamon.
And we can be like those trees and the fall — exposing our colors and mellowing out in a season that calls us to prepare for His coming. He came in a tree-hewn manger. He worked as a carpenter with felled trees. But He knew His purpose was to go to a tree for you and for me. His tree of shame became my tree of freedom. Ponder this beautiful life-giving tree.