Trees of the Icepocalypse

I am a tree.  Or, I was.  My beautiful branches held the most glorious leaves that would wave in the warm breeze on a summer day.  I have been shade for homework-doers and have been climbed by adventurers.  I would smile as I watch students walking to and from classes.  I watched them grow and change to be the men and women that were needed in the world, beyond here.  In the fall, my leaves would turn brilliant colors and students would walk on the sidewalk under me, crunching my leaves.  My bare branches held sparkling snow in the winter or some ice that would glimmer.  My branches were big and strong and beautiful.  Squirrels run to and climb me, birds rest in my branches.  I have gotten to watch generations of students come and go.  I am a tree on the campus of Augustana College, SD.

Everything changed with the coming of the icepocalypse.  The weather started out like any normal, April day.  It began to rain when all the students were asleep.  I like rain.  Tomorrow, the sun might be out, and students would smile up at me like they sometimes would do.  The rain wasn’t snow, and spring was here at last.  And then, the rain became ice pellets.  The ice clung to my branches.  It is very pretty when this happens, but it can sometimes be a heavy hassle.  But it is worth the it when students “ooo” and “ahh” over the way the ice glistens in the daylight.  The ice came down harder and it became heavier and heavier.  My branches grew weary and the ice thickened.  Soon, the ice easily doubled in size of the smaller branches, and it was so heavy.  I couldn’t hold up my branches anymore.  I looked around and saw other trees having the same problems.  I watched in horror as a branch fell from a tree across campus, and I knew then that some of these desperately heavy branches of mine would have the same fate.  As the day progressed, I sagged toward the ground.  Students still looked up at me, but instead of smiles on their faces admiring the beauty, the faces held concern and worry that my branches would hold the fate of others.  And it happened.  A branch fell.  I groaned as the branch detached, and the sound of rushing water and ice hit the sidewalk beneath me.  I closed my eyes, concentrating on holding my branches up, but it was so hard.  Pictures were taken of me, lots of pictures.  Being in a central area, this happened often.  But the pictures being sent to social media sites, family, and friends were no longer pictures admiring my beauty.  Who am I, that I should be brought down and destroyed in a single day?  Who will I be without my branches and my fine figure of a tree?  Sagging, slumping, but still standing as tall as I can.  I closed my eyes.  What will happen to the squirrels who ran to me, just yesterday?  What about the robins that had already begun their spring?  Who will forget this day?  It will take time for me to heal, but I know it’s possible.  My trunk is tilted, my branches cracked.  But what is time?  I am a tree.

 

This post was written in memory of all of the beautiful trees in Sioux Falls, SD, especially the ones that stood on my campus. — Anna

Photo credit: Kelsey Hansen. She writes, "Let's have a moment of silence for our dearly departed friend."
Photo credit: Kelsey Hansen. She writes, “Let’s have a moment of silence for our dearly departed friend.”

Beauty: The 7 Wonders of the World

Beauty is defined by dictionary.com as “the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).”  To end the class I took for j-term, we looked at apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives.  We read The Road by Cormac McCarthy and watched Children of Men, among others.  The commonality in all the apocalyptic narratives is the lack of beauty; lack of hope.  The road is bleak and full of violence.  The narratives end in the death of an important character.  What do you find beautiful?  I have listed some things (because I love lists a lot) that I find beautiful.  These are what I consider the “Seven Wonders of the World.”  I also commented on them.

7. The human body:  It seems that people are always trying to improve their bodies.  And yes, they should be taken care of.  The body is a temple of God.  But can you pause a moment and wonder about its complexity and utter beauty?  God paid special attention to it when he created it, and breathed life into humankind, unlike every other creation.  Whoa!  And it’s just beautiful.  Some of my friends to use the excuse when they’re looking at somebody attractive that they’re just “admiring God’s creation.”

6. A smile and laughter: It is amazing how a simple smile can brighten a day.  Laughter, too, is something beautiful.  A real laugh, not just a polite laugh.  Both smiles and laughter are encouraged daily.  Find something to smile about every day!  They’re beautiful!

5. Art: Beauty can be found in the paintings and sculptures of artists.  A theater house, a cathedral, the pyramids?  Beautiful.  Beauty can be found in the art of creation.  A Midwest sunset or sunrise?  The Colorado Mountains?  Simply beautiful!

4. Words: I am quite taken with words.  They are simply a different medium that artists may use.  A poem, a novel, a journal– beautiful.  The most beautiful words ever are found in the Bible.  And if you don’t read directly from the Bible everyday but only read people’s comments about what is written in the Bible?  You should check it out!  Because, yes, beauty is found there.  (It’s the word of God!)

3. Music: Music can be found in many things, not just a college band playing great music (I say that as we leave for tour today).  The music of nature, the music of the soul, the music of praise to the creator of all.  I can’t even express in words the beauty of music.  It is found everywhere!  Sound in general, really.  God SPOKE the universe and everything else into creation.  Sound.  Music.  When a parent reads to their child before bedtime, music.  Spoken word; daily conversation.  Music.  Beautiful.

2. Love: Without love, I don’t think there would be beauty.  Love is beautiful and it ultimately points to the most beautiful being in the universe: God.  His love is infinite and beyond understanding.  And he gave us the ability to love, as well.  Love in relationships between a parent and child, relatives, friends, significant others, and so many more.  God’s greatest command is to love.  He has given us this beautiful gift.  What more can we do, but pass it on?

Beautiful Cross

1. Christ: Christ is the ultimate beauty and love and sacrifice.  All the other beautiful things are found in him.  Christ paid the penalty for our sins even as we were his enemies.  He loved us THAT MUCH. It blows my mind every day.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19)

Where do you find beauty?

Anna 🙂