Thursday, October 19, 2006
For the Beauty of the Earth
"I wake each morning torn between the desire to improve the world and the desire to enjoy it. It makes it hard to plan the day." So wrote E.B. White. And while I'm no White, especially in my writing, I do resonate with what he says. Most of the time, for me, at least, improving and enjoying the world seem to be separate endeavors.
But last Sunday afternoon was different. After Meeting for Worship and a quick lunch, Nancy and I made our way down to the field below our house. We'd contracted with a local forester to plan 1,500 tree seedlings in neatly ordered and space rows there in May. In June we went away for almost three weeks. When we returned the iron weed and other flora had covered the field. The trees, between one and three feet tall, and the rows had disappeared underneath a canopy of green.
Then came last week's frost and freeze. Down to the field we went. Starting at one end of where we thought a row was, we tramped down weedstalks. And found an oak tree. Three and a half feet high. Two of my paces (and three of Nancy's) farther along and there was another tree. And another. And another. For three hours we tagged them with strands of fabric softener sheets (the deer don't like them and so leave the trees alone). I bushhogged between the rows. By days end we had uncovered one-fourth of the previously weed buried oaks, pawpaws, and hickories.
Sore, even after showers and Advil, it was a day of improving and enjoying the world and seeing God. Well, "at least as much," as Barbara Brown Taylor says in Leaving Church referring to acreage, timber, and soil as parts of God's visible body, "as I am able to see."