I live in Michigan. I can’t imagine living in any other state, although I threaten to move over and over, the majority of those threats and dreams given the loudest voice during January and February. I do believe there is a seed growing which will sprout someday in my future, just not now. In my home state (which I am now enamored with since spring has grasped my heart once again), Pine trees are my natural habitat. We have Pine trees everywhere on our property. I can hear the wind whispering through the millions of needles, buffeting the winds’ harsh effects on our house; protecting us. Yet, just as the music created by the harmony of wind and needles, Pine is tender, comforting and relaxing. It cushions; boughs rocking gently in the breeze, letting the wind find its’ way past, like a mom holding her arms out to her toddler, slowing his little feet down before he trips. Pine is aromatic, pleasing to the senses, and a glorious wood. She also bruises easily.
Oak, on the other hand, is tough. It’s so tough that he won’t even let go of his leaves until the sure knowledge that Spring has taken hold over Winter. New buds will come out, replacing the hardened, weathered, crunchy leaves from the year prior. When I see the dark brown, rounded leaves sticking in the mud, I know that the Oak has given Spring his blessing; acquiescing to her arrival, completely ignoring Winters stand. I adore that about the Oak – he and I stand united in spirit.
This defiance to the harshness of Winter stand out in the Oak’s legacy, his sure wood ready, beautiful to behold and withstanding the abuse that comes his way in a home. On a tight budget, it was the one thing I wouldn’t budge on when we built our house: I knew, with the crew we have, Oak was the only wood that could live side by side with my boys; I’m glad I did. The abuse that our house gets on a daily basis is worth any extra amount we spent on the trim.
The Oak and Pine are alike in that they both wood, living and beautiful. They live side by side, each glorious in his and her unique beauty, mixed in the greater melody of a wooded forest of trees. Each has properties that are sought for different reasons, loved for what he or she is. You certainly can’t mistake an Oak for a Pine or vise versa. You also wouldn’t want to substitute one for the other when it’s specific properties you need in wood.
God has created this melody of nature to teach us about ourselves. As humans we are each unique in our own properties; gifts that we are given to treasure, shine, sing, and share. We are meant to live in harmony with our forest friends without denying, substituting or faking who we are. If you look at even two Pine trees, or any other two of the same, you see that at first glance they are of the same species. Yet, when taking up closer inspection, are completely different in magnificent ways.
An Oak will never become a Pine. I will never become my neighbor, whom I occasionally envy through my own faulty character. I should stop trying to change into something I’m not and rejoice in how I am created by such a loving God; because I matter. Lest I forget, I need simply to look to the trees.