At Bond Falls, I noticed a small pine tree growing in the current. There was enough rock and soil for the tree to have sprouted and grown to its current height. Clearly, however, the little patch of rock and soil, surrounded by the current of the waterfall, would not support a large pine tree. Even at its present size, a flood could topple this tree and sweep it away.
The thought struck me: this tree is not going to live a long life. But it’s alive now. And this is a metaphor for human life as well. Like the tree, we don’t decide where we are born – where our seed will take root. This tree is incredibly lucky, in one way, to have been born in place of such natural beauty—living Its whole life in this clear water and fresh air! Some people are born into lives and places rich with beauty and freshness also. In another way, this tree is unlucky: circumstances doom it to a much shorter life than many of the trees around it. This may be true for humans also, although less obvious than the tree—genetics may mean that one person’s life span is destined to be far less than another’s. For a human or for a tree, however, I am reminded that the length of life is not necessarily the most important thing. The quality of life is important too. A tree growing in a sheltered and safe place may grow taller and live longer—but the tree living its life in the middle of the stream may have a more exhilarating life.
My take away from Bond Falls was simple: enjoy life and the beauty it has to offer. Surviving to old age is a reasonable goal, but enjoying whatever life I am given is something I can strive for every day.
Divine energy of creation that gives us waterfalls and clear air; divine force of wind and nature that set the pine tree seed on a rock in the river current; mysterious gift of life that gave birth to me and you--be here now.
May each of us grow where we are planted. May we breathe in the air and drink in the water—and may they be sweet and fresh. May we enjoy every day, not knowing if it be our last. May we accept the wisdom that the longest life is not always the best life, and that the life well-lived is worth living.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
October 14, 2021