THE VOICE OF THE BIRCHSeptember 13, 2017
Each time I walk my favorite trail I find more excitement in entering the stand of birch trees half way along the way. These trees seem to speak to me about many things.
Sometimes they tell me about Native Americans making canoes of birch bark, probably using those canoes on the nearby Maumee River. The white bark, useful to our predecessors, seems remarkably light-weight and almost too fragile to survive the forest, much less the rapids on the river.
Speaking of the bark, I am also drawn to its whiteness. It’s like a blank sheet of paper, begging for some thoughts to be scribbled on it.
And then there is Robert Frost’s poem that was etched into my mind in high school:
When I see birches bend to left and right0
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
In fact, I still see the boy ‘riding’ the birch trees as Frost depicted.
Birch trees offer me hope simply because they can be both playful and practical. Fortunately for me, this trail has a bench situated in the birch grove, so I can stop and meditate. When I do that, I discover the birds like the birch trees as well.
“He is like a tree planted near streams of water,
that yields its fruit in season;
Its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers.”