I can't get my arms around the trees in the back yard. In my thirteen years of living here their growth from day to day was imperceptible, but I see it now. It isn't just because the screw for hanging the hammock has disappeared into the bark. (I need to mark it somehow so no future owner gets it in mind to aim a power saw at that spot.) I can actually see that the trunks are wider by a lot. I can see that the little evergreen, that defies its name and turns orange every year as though it is certainly dead, and then sprouts millions of delicate green needles, is easily twice the height it was that first May in 2000. I felt so bad over its "death" and thought we'd need to cut it down. It makes a person question the whole concept of death.
Nature in the yard is older, and so am I. The volunteer seedlings of 2000 are over twelve feet tall and will be taller come June. The biggest oak, though, is over four-hundred years rooted in that same spot. Its trunk widens, but it exercises a careful economy on its branches--just enough for leaves to catch the necessary sunlight. It is not a lush tree, growing as it does into thin soil and mountain rock.
Trees live in deep time. Not so deep as the time of stars, but far deeper than what I can know for my individual self. In my connections, though, to the entirety of human unfolding, my time is deeper even than my back yard oak. In what kind of seed do we begin? Were we present eternally in the desire of God for a cosmic Person--a form into which Infinite Being could pour Itself --- a cosmos that would unfold eternally because of its infinitude. Am I a conscious cell of that? An individual participant in that eternal unfolding?
It excites me to think so.