May 15th, 2015

Out for a car drive the other day, yes, a car drive, not a run! We were on our way to a family Mother's Day get-together. As we travelled along a narrow country road, on both sides of the road, there were fruit trees in full blossom. We were clearly in the heart of farmland. The beautiful trees had their spring dresses on as they excitedly and enthusiastically greeted spring. The temperature was very hot, especially for this early in the season,. It was close to 25 C and had been quite humid.

Of course I had forgotten my trusty little camera. We went back a few days later, but in between times, there had been a wind and rain thunderstorm and the visit of the apple blossoms was just about over. As John O’Donohue noted “Beauty does not linger, it only visits.”

The other evening, out for a bike ride, yes, a bike ride, not a run. It was the first bike ride of this year so it was an easy relaxing ride. My turning point was a cemetery about 5 km from where we live. I had a pretty intense 7km run with a group of young ’uns from the Running Room the night before. Just over 41 minutes and I wasn’t last either!

It was a beautiful calm evening, the cemetery was quiet.   The tulips and daffodils were getting ready to enter into their resting time. The tulips were tucking in their petals as they got ready for bedtime. The daffodils, like runners, are A BIT tougher, they open and stay open. Some believe this ‘tucking in” is to prevent pollen from getting damp overnight. Keeping it dry enhances and improves their likelihood of successful reproduction. Others hold that this event, known as nyctinasty, is a highly developed defence mechanism against a plant’s nocturnal predators. By closing their petals up tight, they help create a clearer view of the ground for night-time hunters, like owls, searching for herbivores themselves out looking for a midnight snack! Darwin thought it was to prevent the plant from being vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Lots of theories and Google has the info! The one I like is that some plants simply need to shut down for the night to recharge.

The sun was setting, and the flowers, both ground flowers and the cherry blossoms were clearly past their best performance. Spring comes early here in the Garden City. The other great tall mature trees were well filled out and with wonderful shades of green as each particular tree put forth its best effort.

It reminded me of one of the Psalms. Actually the first Psalm. Psalm One. There are 150 of them that contain wonderful spiritual wisdom that has been around for over three thousand years.   Here's the first part of the psalm ... the good news:

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

To be blessed in the Jewish tradition is an important aspect of their culture. This particular psalm lays down the two ways of life. I have space only to reflect on the way of the righteous. The psalmist speaks first of the people who worship God and in whose presence they find ‘delight and blessing’. To be ‘blessed’ is to discover the happy condition of those who revere the Lord and seek to do God’s will and put their trust in God.

The ‘blessed’ are like a tree planted by streams of water the psalmist writes as he reflects.

Such a tree withstands the buffeting of the winds (of chance, change and fancy ) and standing, with deep roots, and flourishing, it blesses not only the people who find shade under its branches but nourishment from its abundant fruit, but also the animals and birds who build their nests and homes.

I remember a preacher once, as she reflected on this psalm, suggesting that perhaps the idea of the family tree might be traced back to this psalm written well over three thousand years ago. She also asked us, the listeners to her sermon, ( every sermon needs a listener to be a sermon ) to reflect on who might have been a tree to us, offering us protection and nourishment, allowing us to produce ‘fruit’ of our own. Then, as a final thought, the preacher asked us to reflect on to whom we might be a tree to today.   Who might come to us looking for protection and nourishment under the branches of our lives?

Richest Blessings in Christ!

the runningrev!