Look Closer, See Beauty. New Eyes Lesson #6
“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it”~Confucious
Our home is in the Midwest. The wide Platte River braids its way placidly through this part of the country. The river itself is fascinating and unique. There is only one other like it on the entire planet. Countless wagons full of wide-eyed pioneers journeyed across these open plains as our nation expanded westward. They knew this was a perfect route. The land here is broad and open and flat, but uninteresting only to those with uninterested eyes. The more discerning see endless beauty in the subtlety of the landscape.
Many years ago our young daughter was gazing out the window of the yellow school bus bringing her home. It jostled its way along the country roads dropping youngsters off one by one. It was harvest time and a harvest so abundant that grain was heaped in great piles near the bursting storage bins. Sorghum or “milo” as it’s called here, grows in a autumn-hued spectrum of shades from gold to brown to red. Her creative mind saw the piles as giant sand art and enthusiastically pointed one out to her fellow passengers. “Look!” she exclaimed, “isn’t that beautiful?!” The boy in the seat next to her looked at her blankly. “What? That? It’s just milo.” To this day, when we see piles of grain at harvest time, we still chuckle about how blind he was to the art of it. I wonder if he ever found his new eyes.
Beauty where we least expected to find it
Heavy snow and high wind last week split the trunk of a huge old cedar tree and sent half of it crashing across our driveway. My husband cut the 50 foot monster up into manageable chunks and dragged it out of the way to deal with later. Yesterday we had a welcome day of sunshine and a bit of warmth so we tackled the job of cleaning up the mess. He cut down the rest of the craggy, spindly old thing and quickly sawed off the smaller, outer branches. He hauled load after load to the landfill while I cleaned up the debris.
We talked about another raggedy old tree we’d have to cut down later and remarked how ugly and straggly it had become. Later, we gathered some of the fragrant chips to throw in the fire we planned that evening and began stacking the larger pieces where they’ll cure to become firewood for future winters. And then I saw it. Oh my goodness! This homely old tree had the most beautiful heartwood inside!
Beauty locked in a trunk!
Inside that old trunk, I found more than heartwood, I found a metaphor for living! This is from an article on the website of Northern Woodlands: “In young trees and young parts of older trees, all of the wood in the stem is sapwood. But as the tree gets older and its trunk increases in diameter, things change. No longer is the entire cross-section of the trunk needed for conducting sap. This, combined with an increased need for structural support, causes significant changes in the wood. The cells nearest the center of the trunk die, but they remain mostly intact. As these older sapwood cells age and die, they become heartwood. That is, they are altered to accommodate a shift in function.” Get that? The increased need for structural support. Oh boy how we need that as we grow older and hopefully wiser!
But here’s the really gorgeous part of the afternoon. As the sun began to slide down and the light began to fade, we hurriedly stacked the last branches that will someday be firewood. I turned the last length of log around and a broad grin lit up my face! I’d found the best “God wink” of the whole day. Here it is! Honest to goodness “Heart” wood! An early Valentine from the Lord.
Never forget to use your new eyes as you go about even the most ordinary activity! You’ll be amazed and blessed! See you later in the week with something new!!