Sunday, December 28, 2014


We were gifted at Christmas with a week away at a hotel by some friends. 
 It was just an hour down the coast but such a good change for us.  
 This poem reflects one of my big take-aways.

The other day I walked on the beach
where a little stone pine told me his story...
I hope it will be my story, too.

The little stone pine bowed low in the wind.
It leaned with its gusty opponent in struggle.
It strained, labored, twisted in resistance.
Day after day after day, the wind did not let up.
The stone pine, in spite of its name, was worn low and weary,
bearing the marks of a heavy and long battle.

The wind let up for a while but the tree retained its low position.
It vividly reflected its difficult life journey.
But in the lull, the pine reflected on its hardship,
contemplated its reactions & possibilities.
It realized it could not control the wind...
It could only hope to move with it -
but not be broken.

As the wind returned and blasted away at the pine,
That very struggle began to engage the deep capacity of the tree.
Previously untapped potential seeped forth, filling its veins,
infusing its life-giving sap that ran its deep course.
The tree bowed - but did not touch the ground.
The tree bent & reflected its struggle - but did not break.
The tree arched - but did not fracture.
The tree...was.
And that was its victory.

The pine was, by now,  horizontal to the ground.
The trunk was bent but sturdy & of a rich color.
The lovely green needles turned to face the sun and the vast sea.
In thankfulness, in need, in receptivity to its strength.
And there it remained.
So that I could see it.
So that others could see & read its life lesson.

Life will leave its mark on us.
There is no doubt in that.
I want to be like that tree -
I want to have a mark that says I have struggled...
but with a flowering noble strength
which reflects my desire to be better, deeper.
I want my face to face the sun no matter which way I must lean...
and to also have courage to face the vast, mysterious sea...
The sea over which the wind blows -
but which also holds treasure, surprise and unexplored territory.
Surely it holds unfathomed depths and an unbelievable array of colors & untold stories.

I may be bowed down low right now,
But my needles face the life-giving sun.
It will only be a matter of time
before I live untold adventures yet to come.
Because these very struggles tap previously unengaged capacities
to feel, to grow, to love, to persevere, to live...
I will continue like the little stone pine
who told me his story
on a day I walked the beach.

1st photo by:  me  :)

2nd photo by:  Dennis Murczak

1 comment:

  1. I read your post sitting on a beach beside a fire with a few tears. Bent cypresses hover a hundred yards to the north, silent sentinels of God's faithfulness: I walked past them on my honeymoon in 1987, my children remember climbing them with their mother in the 90's, and I know I climbed in them in the 60's. Strong, scarred and beautiful, they praise him tonight in the still darkness, as they have praised in the raging storm, and as, tomorrow morning, they will be praising Him in a new sunrise. As will our families, year after year. God bless us, every one.