I remember the joy of cutting down trees… The bigger the better!
When we were tasked to remove a cottonwood near the house we gave no thought of success, only that we tied a rope to the top, began chopping at the bottom, and then pulling it in the direction we wanted. Of course, it was onto the neighbors property, and it was only 4 feet from our home…The danger of where it would fall was more about us guiding it with a rope from the tallest branches than by any skill in proper cutting.
This was pure enjoyment when I was younger.
The older I get the more distressed I am when trees are brought down. Not the kind that are raised as a crop, but the ones that identify the yard, give shade to the home, or blossom for no apparent reason except to be enjoyed.
The 5 acres we call home was harvested for valuable trees some 20 years ago. Instead of replanting, my yard was allowed to slowly come back to some form of natural life. We had plenty of trees 11 years ago, but I wanted more! We have planted approximately 150 trees of various breeds and purpose – but still, I want more!
Give me a forest!
We have bought trees from several favorite places: Weyerhauser Tree Farm, Lawyer Nursery, Pioneer Nursery, and a few other local place. Tall trees. Established trees. And bare root trees. I have transplanted them all throughout the yard, and still that’s not enough. More! More!
Many trees we have planted are married (spliced) to a root ball that is very capable of surviving our soil type. We even have an ornamental tree wrapped up from the root with an apple tree, and it produces lots of apples!
We even took a tree brought to us by our granddaughter from Oregon and planted it in a special place. She even named it! “Emma Loves Trees”… A girl after my own heart!
When it comes to planting new trees you must take into consideration the tree requirements – soil conditions, sun requirements, drainage, or even proximity to other barriers – every tree has requirements. Disobey the instructions and your results, well, they will be surprising. Probably surprisingly bad!
Of all the trees we have planted – some have not survived. Others are struggling with location, for whatever reason, and others are blooming there they are planted!
Take these pictured trees. I planted them as bare root stock, a foot tall, about 7 years ago, watered them religiously their first year and watched them head for the skies! Look how they have grown! Notice the next picture and you will see a tree from the same time period planted along the edge of my “woods”… It gets an evening sun and competes for root space with other trees who send out runners to start a new growth. In fact, it seems to be crowded and not very productive. And it is the same age as the first pictured tree…
Buried deeper among the “woods” are other firs that are growing like crazy. Why is this one struggling? Poor planting location? Root competition? Not enough sun? Or was it simply a poor specimen.
It does matter where you plant what you plant!
This is also true about each of us.
There are some appropriate places where we grow quickly, and other places we are stunted. There are places where we are encouraged to grow, and some where we are constantly thrust back into the crowd and not allowed to become.
Jesus speaks a parable about sowing some seed. Back then seed was spread by hand. It was not planted in neat rows, nor by some mechanized method. It was scattered by hand and stayed where it landed – some in the pathway, some in the thorns, some among the rocks, and even some was found in good earth (Matthew 13:3-9).
Each location had challenges. Along the hard pressed and frequently traveled pathway, seed was snatched away by the birds because there was no good place to root. Some were choked out by thorns and weeds, and other seed landed in the rocks where there was not enough soil to do any good. Of course, most seed was focused on the good ground – the right earth combination to allow production.
I have worked secular jobs throughout my adult life, and I have ministered in a number of locations. Some of these places were hard pressed to allow anything to grow (pathway), some were prickly with multitude of thorny attitudes and everything you did was choked out of existence. Some places were simply craggy with hard rocks, hard attitudes … almost an impossibility to make a difference and a waste of planting. Still, there have been some really good places where much growth and production happened.
There are multiple lessons found in this parable. Jesus gives me a thought about a particular point I want to leave you with today.
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom…” Matthew 13:19 (KJV)
Thought: Notice how the explanation of the parable seems to define a single person hearing the Word. One person. This one person contains all the conditions of soil from the parable. Hard ground, prickly and thorny ground, rocky crevasses with little potential for growth, and of course, there are some areas considered good ground. Some areas of my life are hard, prickly and rocky – and will bear virtually no fruit. Other areas are ripe to receive and produce as necessary.
It seems to me,
there are many who have a disproportionate percentage
of one type of ground or the other!
Truly, we cannot blossom where planted unless we are willing to take the unproductive portions of our lives and make them productive…
Soften up that hard trodden pathway of life,
get rid of the thorns and weeds,
remove the rocks and make sure there is tillable soil…
Then be productive where you are planted!
Do you want to productive where you are planted? Then you need to see what changes are required in your life!