By Gary Miller
I’ve never thought about it until now, but when I look at my past, I can’t tell my story without talking about trees.
I was reminded of their influence just the other day, as I admired a beautiful Weeping Willow. As far as trees go, this one is my first memory. It was from this tree that my dad gathered the switches he would use on my legs. I never felt abused by their sting, but I can’t really say I felt loved either. LOL. I can remember how quick it took to de-leave a small branch in order to make it a correction tool for my dad. I can’t remember anything I ever did to deserve such torture, only that it must have been pretty bad. My only memory of that Weeping Willow was one of pain.
But that was not the only tree that brings back memories. There was a Maple just beyond that willow tree that was for climbing. In the center of the yard, there was an apple tree below an old cesspool that would remind you of an old man who had just enough hair to keep from claiming he was bald. The apples were sparce, but the hole in the trunk always provided some of the richest dirt for any plant that needed a boost. These were part of my home and part of my life. A later memory was one of accomplishment. Dad brought home two trees for my brother and I to plant. Mine was a Mimosa. I can remember planting it and it growing into an adult. I always looked at that tree as something I helped survive and thrive.
Later, as a young adult, I learned the difference between oaks, hickories, sassafras, and most others. And isn’t it special, as a deer hunter, I will sit in a tree to have an opportunity to harvest a trophy and re-live a story. Yes, it’s true. I can’t tell the story of my life without talking about trees. They truly are a special creation of God. One writer of scripture described a characteristic of trees this way. He said, “Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise.” If you have ever been in a tree stand you know what he is talking about. The sound of leaves at the end of limbs lifted in praise, affirms the truth that if we humans do not give thanks to God, the rocks will cry out. (and the trees will too.)
I would love to speak at your next men’s event. Also check out my new website for more information about Outdoor Truths at www.outdoortruths.org.
Gary Miller can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.