Pine Tree Looking Up

Looking skyward, there is an eternity beyond the tree line. And beyond the farthest planet, and beyond last star, what’s there? Through my faith, I believe God is there, as much as He is anywhere, as He is omnipresent. What’s physically beyond that farthest star? I don’t know, but I’ve looked plenty and wondered.

During my college years, I spent a few months working at a summer farm camp set in the woods in the southwestern Chicago suburbs. Kids from Chicago would come and spend two weeks with us. Many had never seen a farm animal or woods you could not see the end.

My role was as a camp counselor. My kids were 8-10 years-old.

Part of what I did was to introduce the beauty of the woods, and of nature in general, to the kids. We’d get up at midnight and walk down the path a mile into the forest surrounding our cabin. We stopped next to a creek and laid on the ground looking up at the trees, at the boughs, and see how the light of the moon filtered through. Because this was summertime, and the trees were full of leaves, we see patterns with sharp lines and corners, and then flowing angles more lustrous than any French curve.

The wind would blow and adjust that pattern, until the leaves would settle again where they started. The branches knew where to go.

We’d stay about 30 minutes and consider the quietness and the loudness of all the leaves blowing, animals, the creek, and of our own selves shuffling on the ground.

Anyone who is been into the woods at night knows it is not as quiet one might expect. In that area, raccoons and skunks were plentiful. Raccoons make a growling sound, and skunks are relatively silent but stay close to the ground. Cicadas make their presence known. While it’s peaceful, it’s not quiet.

Wander into your backyard, climb into your fort if you’ve got one, and look skyward. What do you see?


Birthday – poet Rainer Maria Rilke (December 4, 1875 – December 26, 1926)

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