A few weeks ago my wife requested a landscaper’s estimate to remove six or seven trees from the back of our property. They’ll have to knock down a few lengths of perimeter fencing so they can get their big equipment through, and they’ll make several trips to the dump with all of the branches and stumps they’ll pile up.
But when all’s said and done my wife will have the blank canvas she wants for a future riding arena for her horses. Minus a few trees, of course.
The neighbor lady won’t be happy because she’s all about keeping the trees, She drops hints here and there about “leaving things the way God intended”. She also doesn’t seem to mind the endless waste the trees generate, whether falling leaves from the oaks or cones and needles from the pines. But here’s what I want to say to her. First, we have over forty trees on our property (and thousands in the community) so losing six is just a needle in the haystack. Second, we’ll replace those trees over time, in other areas of the property. We’re already making plans to switch out the rose bushes in our driveway circle for a flowering dogwood.
I can still hear the neighbor lady pleading, “Dave, do you know how long those trees have been standing back there?” Why yes, good neighbor, I’m sure some of them have been around a hundred years. But just like the ones that came down so our house could be built, it’s time to get rid of a few more. You sort of make an agreement with the forest when you live in it. Let me take down a few of your trees and in return I’ll care for the ones that remain.
Amy Grant, the well-known Christian singer (and most recent recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors), just released her latest single. It’s perfect for the start of spring. Trees We’ll Never See is a gentle, lilting ballad about the brevity of human life. The song covers a lot of ground in its few verses: the things we learn from our parents, the challenges we face, the value of hard work, and leaving a legacy. Amy also reminds us about the importance of faith and prayer (as she usually does). But it’s the song’s title that sticks with me. We’re all planting trees we’ll never see.
I remember talking to one of my cousins years ago, and hearing about a locked-down project he was a part of for America’s Space Administration. I can’t recall the what, where, or why of it all, but I do remember the time frame to get it done. Generations. Meaning, my cousin (and his kids, and maybe even their kids) will be long gone before the work is finished. My cousin is planting a tree he’ll never see.
Here’s my favorite lyric in the Amy Grant song:
Statues fall and glory fades but a hundred-year-old oak tree still gives shade.
That’s powerful stuff in my book. You can be somebody big or you can do something big, but what can you be or do to make the world a better place after you’re gone? I’m still working on my answer to that question.
I first covered Amy Grant a few years ago, blogging about her single I Need A Silent Night. It’s a frank anthem about seeking the Christmas spirit amidst the inevitable chaos. I’m not always struck by Amy’s lyrics but I was then and I am again now.
Here’s my final take on Amy’s song. If you’re familiar with her music you know she’s been around a long time. She released her first album in 1977, meaning almost fifty years and hundreds of songs. And in that time Amy’s style moved a little towards pop and a little towards country, but never far from Christian themes. Trees We’ll Never See could be straight out of Amy’s early years. It’s like she tapped the roots of a tree she planted decades ago, just to create a brand new one for future generations. I’ll keep that in mind whenever we plant our flowering dogwood.
Some content sourced from IMDB, “the Internet Movie Database”, and Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.