When my husband came home from a trip to Civic Park in Reynoldsburg, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, announcing that I simply had to go see a tree—I was not exactly in the nature-girl sort of mood. After all, it was about an hour before our middle daughter’s 6th birthday party and the need to complete about 50 party related tasks was outweighing my desire to visit some random tree. I didn’t grow up in the city—I had seen tons of trees and could not imagine why I had to drop everything to see a tree—but Chris, my husband, was insistent. He was even searching for the camera.
Off we went to the park—and I’ll be honest I was a little “grumbly”. I became grumpier when I realized that I was in for a hike through the wet, recently mowed fields to get to the spot. Finally, he directed me through a cut through path that led toward a little stream bed and that’s when I saw the tree—and every grumpy thought turned to wonder and awe. It was the biggest tree I had ever personally seen in all of our Ohio wanderings and exploration. I've seen photos from Ohio's Department of Natural Resources, but had never experienced a "big tree" such as those in person.
Yes, I took pictures—lots of pictures. My husband even drove a caravan of party guests to the park to view the massive tree. In the end, I was glad that he had shared the tree with me (in spite of my initial grumblings). I actually see the tree as a great location for some quiet reflection—when I can slip away from the chaotic day. I guess I find peace wondering how many others have sought refuge or solace beneath the shade of that tree through time.
We revisit the tree every so often—and were disappointed that it had lost a giant branch during the recent windstorm that took out our own ornamental pear tree. I know I’ve gone there a few times in the past year to refocus and even re-energize during a stressful week. Perhaps it’s hokey but I like to think that if that tree had the strength to survive for hundreds of years through all of the changes and turmoil of the world then I certainly have things to learn from it.
What did I learn? I should never be too busy to take advantage of the beauty around me—whether it’s nature in my own backyard, my 4 year old daughter's 180th drawing of our family, or one of the cats in a cute pose. What else? Everyone needs a reflection point from which to draw encouragement. I found mine in an odd source—an old tree in a park.
Where have you found special spot for soul searching and reflection? Have you found it yet? If not, do not stop looking—it may already be in your own backyard.