Excursus on Sycamore Trees

My previous post reminded of this article I wrote for our church newsletter three years back:

I have found at least two great reasons to have Sycamore trees in your yard – preferably one in the front yard and one in the back, as we do at our home.  First, these two wonderfully tall and full trees provide a generous amount of shade for our house and yard during the spring and summer.  There is a bit of shelter from the heat of the sun found under the large leaves clinging to branches jutting in every direction.  I must admit at the beginning of this fall that I was not enjoying our trees or appreciating them to the same degree as I noted above.  That is, until I experienced a wonderful fall day frolicking with E (2 years old) in the leaves that littered (actually covered) our backyard.  With a little help from the wind and a rake I created an enormous leaf pile – large enough to loose a small child in its midst.  It had all started innocently enough as E joined me in the back to pile up said leaves in preparation for their removal by my new toy – a leaf blower/vacuum.  Leaves have been raining down unfettered upon the yard for weeks now – and now was the time for them to receive their due!  This, of course, is where E comes in.  I had been loathing those Sycamore trees and their copious amount of leaves both already on the ground and those that are prepared to descend upon the yard once I have it looking just right.  In creating my piles to vacuum and mulch up, E saw an opportunity.  It’s hard to know, but it seemed to come naturally to him – leaf piles were created for joy.  His joy.

This kind of thing is catching and so I was led to create an even larger leaf pile.  E and I played for a long time or so it seemed.  E slid down his plastic slide, conveniently placed in the leaf pile, again and again – enjoying each time as if he were sliding for the first time.  As I said, this kind of thing is catching, but I am way to big for the slide.  So, the next best thing to do is to fall back into the leaves, which brought even more delight to my son’s little heart.  He continued to play as I lay there glancing up into the sycamore tree and the clear blue sky beyond with the wind blowing and leaves rustling around me.  For a brief moment, I felt unmitigated joy and I wanted to capture that feeling so that I might hold onto it – for that moment it seemed as if everything was right.  If I could have bottled that time up, I would have.  Instead, I am settling for leaving that massive leaf pile in the back yard for a while longer – I’m sure there will be some leaves to add to the mix.  Naturally, it did not take long to be reminded that everything is not right with the world – that we still live in a fallen world.  A trip to the grocery store with a cranky child was enough to remind me of this that same morning.  Turning on the news will do the same.  And yet, there is something within that romp in the leaves that does speak of greater glory.  Everything is not right, but God is about making things right.  Redemption can be found in a pile of leaves and that is what makes our hearts leap for joy – and makes us long for the full redemption that Christ is bringing into this world.

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