The silence is profound as I walk quietly among the giant trees in the deep forest. Footsteps muffled in the thick moss. I ponder the mystery of time held here. Magnificent trunks stand before me, their girth a bold witness of years upon years of life passing in this world. Far above, sunlight and wind dance among the living green of present life. But I am here, among the great trunks that rise out of the earth. Strong and silent, they invite me to consider the years that I have lived.
I know that these trees have rings within that hold hints of their stories. As I lay my hand upon the thick, gnarly armor of their bark, I wonder of the secrets hidden.
I imagine my soul has rings like these grandfather trees. My stories held in diminishing memories.
As I stand in the silence of the woods, I think about the stories that my life has been built upon. How they weave together to shape the person who is me.
Standing in this cathedral of quiet presence, I cannot read what the rings inside these old ones say, but an observant pause offers clues. A twisted knot. A broken limb? An ancient charred stump. Why does that one bend? Another grow thick, some bleed a sticky sap. One lies at the others feet, soft and broken, saplings flourish in the heap. The trees tell the story of the passage of life in this forest.
Breathing deep the forest scent, God’s Spirit beckons me . Closing my eyes I imagine my own life, grown dense and woody around the experiences that have shaped me. If my stories form the person I have become, would it not help me to spend some time with them? For unlike these trees I can choose to change how I respond to what the storms of life have done.
And in that quiet moment ~ I know.
It is time to walk among the stories that are my own.
Cindy Peterson is a native of the Pacific Northwest. Mother of four, Grandmother, wife and lover of God. Captivated by the redemptive work of God through story in the small group setting. Outdoors woman, athlete, gardener, photographer. She loves to run in the woods with her dogs. She writes here.n