Having recently married and stepped down as the editor of The Beehive newspaper, in this, my last editor’s column–with much gratitude for all I’ve learned from the many Beehive readers over the past 20 years—I share some parting words—about trees.
In my 10-year-old, slightly tomboyish world, there was nothing quite like scurrying to the end of our road, with my younger sister in tow, sliding a few feet down an embankment and disappearing beneath the canopy of leaves formed by a massive California oak tree. That tree and the three or four others around was, to us, a veritable forest, a private place, completely removed, where we could get away from the world—at least until Mom called us for dinner.
There, under cover of the dark-green dome of leaves, we escaped, imagined and got to know trees. We learned what it was like to come off conqueror as we staged our own challenges—who could climb to this point the fastest or who could find the biggest acorn (complete with a cap, of course). We gathered leaves, picked at the thick, gray bark and soaked in the tree’s solidarity as we began to sense the lessons of trees. Somehow, we came to know the importance of roots as well as the wisdom of slow, steady growth. There was comfort in those trees, a natural communion with nature, a coming to appreciate the beauty of Heavenly Father’s creations.
There, too, was the stuff of our sustenance as, for Dad, a carpenter, wood meant he could feed us one more time, and the smell of fresh-sawn lumber we recognized as the smell of home.
Years later, as scriptures and symbols became more important to me, I relished thoughts of other trees, particularly the tree of life—symbolic of the love of God—whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all others. Sweet above all that is sweet. I recognized and relied on that sweetness time and again.
The years brought lessons about other fruits, like the fruits of the spirit and, especially, about getting to know people by their fruits.
I have also learned lessons about trees that are sown on less-than-fertile ground—and I have had to do my share of proverbial pruning and digging so I could more readily weather the storms and get back to growing as straight and true as possible.
Indeed, I’ve come to love the lessons I’ve learned from trees. Is it any wonder, then, that when I decorated for my wedding in December, each centerpiece included rounds of wood—cut by my husband, the co-owner of a sawmill—and a tree made of metal—fabricated by my new son-in-law, the owner of a metal shop? Trees as part of the reception décor were a tribute to putting down new roots, to being grafted in, a symbol to wanting to bring two family branches together in a way that would create harmony and love and even greater opportunities for growth.
It seemed only natural that trees should be at the center of it all. Trees had opened my world as a child and, now, I was climbing and dreaming and entering a world of love and comfort and beauty all over again. Besides, I was marrying a man who knows and loves the lessons of trees as much as I do.
After serving as The Beehive editor for 20 years, Cecily Markland, now Cecily Markland Condie, will focus on providing publishing services through her company, Inglestone Publishing, and on enjoying her new chapter in life as a proud wife, Mom and Nana.