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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Waterfall Tree

There is a trail up above our home that leads to a waterfall. It's not much of a waterfall this time of year. Sure, it's cool up here, and the snow holds on for quite a while, but, this is still California, ...and California is not known for having a plentiful water supply, even in places where it touches the clouds.

The top of the cliff is very high, maybe about 7500 elevation. From there, the water free falls over its sharp edge. The water  drops a terribly long way, then pools at the pinnacle of the trail and swirls a few times before spilling out to make its descent as the creek that cuts through our little hamlet. Standing at the foot of the waterfall, one can look straight up that sheer cliff face.  Its a treacherous one; attempts at scaling it have cost a couple of lives.  At the zenith of that cliff stands a tree.  I love that tree.  I wonder at it, towering over us, firm on its height, seemingly rooted in pure rock, and braving the edge.

Most people come up here to see the water, and the water is wonderful.  In fact, in the Springtime, the very act of reaching the falls requires climbing right through the rushing creek, scaling the rocks that it tumbles over, for about a half mile.  After that experience, one is pretty immersed in the water, both physically and emotionally, and reaching the place where it spills over the edge of the cliff is a triumph.

I don't really come for the water, although I do appreciate its grace and power.  I come to gaze up at that tree.  It fascinates me.  Through parched California summers, the sweet mellowness of Spring and Fall, and the snow drench of Alpine winters which freeze the waterfall still and silent,... that tree stands firm, proud and enduring.  It's not a big tree; I think that's why I like it so.  We have some enormous trees around here.  This one though, is sort of spry and even gangly.  It has tenacity.

I suppose that life requires us to be like that tree. There are times both harsh and gentle which we must pass through.  Life brings us spans of sweet springtime...and sometimes dumps 6 feet of snow on us.  All the while, we must stay the course.  Sometimes days pass with cotton candy ease....and other times, we are faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.  I suppose, though, that the blessing lies in the fact that through the worst of times, we need only, like that tree, remain standing.

We can, you know.  We can stand firm and endure all that life throws at us, because we are loved by an Almighty God.  There is no greater assurance than that, and we will endure and thrive.

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. ~Matthew 10: 21-22

Pax Christi, Dear Ones,
May you always remember and rest assured in the love of your Father in Heaven,

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