Monday, July 11, 2022

Genesis 18 meditation



Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. - Genesis 18:4 NRSV

On a hot summer day, we loved nothing more than to play under the canopy of our walnut trees on the lawn. We strung twine from one tree to another, draped blankets over the sturdy line and likely secured them using our mother’s clothespins. There was a place we could play, imagine and relax.

We also planned to camp out there overnight. We tried to, but darkness, strange night sounds, and I suppose some fear of who might visit us in there had us scurrying back into the house. Mom and Dad knew us better than we knew ourselves. After all they were our protectors.

I don’t suppose that as five-, six-, or even eight-year-olds that we understood the complexity of a tree or its many forms of usefulness, but Dad must have taken it as a goal to teach us all he could. A place for shade on a hot summer day, which he also appreciated, and a place to hang our first swing.

We climbed trees, picked fruit from the orchard, and gathered at least a thousand walnuts that dropped on the lawn from the mature walnut trees. Our little Christmas trees came from our bush lot at the back of the farm. I don’t know how Dad did it, but he cut the top of a pine or spruce and dragged it home Christmas Eve to be decorated.

 In a special effort to honour those memories, our family provided white pine seedlings to people who attended our father’s memorial service in May 2016. I brought one seedling home; it was so tiny it sat in my hand.  


I had never grown a tree before, so this was a new experience. After planting the tiny seedling in a pot, I left it on the picnic table overnight. A squirrel, or some other critter, upended it, but all was not lost. The seedling needed more protection, and so we set it in the ground, and my husband made a wire cage to set around it as protection. We made sure the seedling got plenty of water in those first days. And it grew slowly and steadily over the next five years.



 A year ago, I inquired within our family who would like Harry’s tree — or Dad’s tree — for their property. It had grown to three feet and needed more room to grow. No one had just the right space for it to grow and thrive.

Earlier this year, my friend Doris wondered if my first home church cemetery would be a good place—where Mom’s and Dad’s ashes, and now my brother’s too, are buried.

The council members accepted the gift and prepared a place for it to be planted. While our little spruce is not a shade tree, it is now settled along the perimeter of that cemetery to beautify that sacred space. Dad would be pleased. I think the Creator might be as well.



When you wonder at creation and how it was so perfectly made, does it build in you the desire to protect and care for it? It does for me.


Carolyn Wilker, author and editor from southwestern Ontario.










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