Long time no blog

Having completed a masters and been on the job hunt for a while, I have at last put aside a little time for the blog – after 7 months!
I am also getting around to reading some of the books waiting patiently on my bookshelf. I’ve just started The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge (Penguin, 2005). I like his style and his approach: accurate and erudite but not dry or cold; Tudge has a warm, informed reverence for his subject. On the question “what is a tree?”, he writes:

An oak is a noble tree in a forest or a park but an acorn that falls in a fissure in some Scottish crag may spend a couple of centuries in bonsai’d mode, never more than a twisted stick. Yet it may turn out acorns which, if they should be carried to some fertile field, could again produce magnificence. Is the twisted stick less of an oak because it fell on stony ground? And if it remains an oak, is it not still a tree?

Possibilities and potential are locked up in every acorn, wherever it lands. A parallel with us humans comes to mind. Just as a tree is a tree, regardless of its surroundings, so our inner humanity remains, regardless of upbringing or surroundings. Even if our appearance – physical or behavioural – is far from admirable, we, each of us, has the potential for “magnificence”. Beauty, fruitfulness and creativity can arise from any situation – it just takes a little faith and the right encouragement. That’s not so say that beauty and virtue cannot be seen in the most “hopeless case”. Of course they can but there is always potential for dramatic change, for a real turning-around. Whatever about our physical self – a product of nature and nurture – our heart and soul can change and be changed dramatically. Perhaps, in trees, we see a picture of forgiveness and redemption.

The acorn is “carried to some fertile field”, however. If we are made in God’s image – as the Hebrew Scriptures tell us, if there is a watermark of God’s character on each one of us, some echo of His magnificence, some yearning for a better us, then certainly we are involved in the transport.  It’s just that we tend to take the wrong route. And even if we took the right route, I don’t believe we’d get there on our own. Just as the acorn needs a bird or a stream to get to a better place, don’t we need a Carrier?

Kinda like a tree,