Monday, 15 October 2018

When a Tree Talks


Mazzy Adams

Mid-September is Carnival of Flowers time, an event celebrated annually in the mountain city I call home. This year, my husband and I wandered through the colourful vistas of Laurel Bank Park. We began our stroll in The Scented Garden which is a delight for the senses and a feature for those with visual impairment. I brushed the leaves of several plants, releasing their spicy aromas, appreciating their textures, this one crinkly and crisp, that one soft and furry. I was focused on the immediate, the close personal experience, until I rounded a bend in the path and saw, right there in front of me—

Two ordinary ladies. Blocking my progress.

They weren’t brandishing guns or wearing backpacks filled with explosives. They weren’t weird. They weren’t sinister. They looked normal and content. I confess, the fiction writer in me was a tad disappointed.  

What were those ladies doing? They were holding their phones aloft, photographing a tree. A truly magnificent tree. A tree I would have missed completely if not for their actions. Like a positive book review from a fan, or an enthusiastic tweet about an upcoming release, their focus and appreciation drew my attention to a wonderful creation. The moment they left, I employed my phone’s camera too.




But that’s only the beginning of the story. Their actions also had a profound impact on my thoughts and provoked contemplation. Since then, God has been whispering encouraging messages to me—messages about writing and life—revealed through that experience and the tree.




Taking a photo of that tree should have been easy, right? But no matter where I stood, I couldn’t frame or even see the whole tree. My perspective was limited. Only God (or possibly someone riding a hot-air balloon) could see the whole of that tree at once.

God’s perspective is never limited. He sees the whole picture. He sees the reason and purpose behind each and every action he calls us to take, and each and every thought he wants us to write down.




It was late in the day when that tree captured my attention. As the sun set and the light changed and the shadows grew and the darkness entered, that tree did not deviate from its purpose. It kept standing. It kept growing, remaining true to its essence, its DNA. And it kept whispering truth to me.

When did God call you to write?

Last week? A year ago? When you were a child?

Before the foundation of the world?

I thought about how very many decades that tree had taken to reach its current stature. How, as a small seed, it was planted and nurtured by people and nature. How it was fertilised, treated for insect attack or disease, pruned (it probably didn’t enjoy that much).

Have others nurtured you in your calling? Helped to establish you in it? Fed you? Protected you from interference, discouragement, or attack? Helped you shed unproductive habits?

Have you, likewise, nurtured others in their calling?



Late to bud after a harsh, dry winter, that tree looked stark and bare, remaining dormant till conditions favour letting those new shoots loose.

Is God calling you to write something new? Or to pick up the pen that has lain dormant through a long, cold, dry winter? Is it time to edit that stubborn draft? Enter that competition? Learn a new skill? Have you noticed the arrival of Spring?

Other gardens in the park were awash with colourful blooms. I had fun trying to name the various plants. I personally could not identify the species or genus of my talking tree. The person who planted it possibly needed to know, needed to understand its expected growth pattern, where it belonged in the park. My ignorance didn’t make the tree any less valuable or amazing. I loved the singular tone and tome of that tree just as much as I loved the sweet aroma of the massed planting of stocks, the elegant gentility of the tulips, and the bright, bouncy freedom flaunted by the poppies. Each had to grow into what they were meant to be and appreciated for what they are.



Likewise, a writer’s ability to identify, establish and conform to genre expectations is useful. But remember, reading and writing outside or beyond the norms, form and limitations of genre can be an exhilarating, enlightening and liberating experience.  



As I pondered each of these analogies whispered by the One who created the tree and created me, I felt a calming inner peace, reassured in my calling and in God’s timing. There is indeed a time and a season for every activity and purpose under heaven.

Then I had one more thought … trees allow our words to live on in print, for a very, very long time.

What have the trees, or their Creator, been whispering to you?  




Mazzy Adams is an Australian wife, mother, grandmother, creative and academic writing tutor and published author with a passion for words, pictures and the positive potential in people.
Website: www.mazzyadams.com

Email: maz@mazzyadams.com

14 comments:

  1. Loved your post Mazzy. I've copied it to re-read and absorb and learn from. Thanks so much. We've had a big year with our house move and my book launch and I'm still struggling to discover 'What next' in spite of seeking God about it and being open to Him. My health issues has not helped so I think it's been a kind of winter season in my writing. I look forward to seeking God afresh using your words and ideas. So thank you. Love your way with words. God bless your writing journey dear Mazzy and may it bring forth much fruit and blessing.

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    1. Thanks Anusha. You have been a great inspiration to me many times; one of those who have nurtured me as a writer. Those winds of adversity wear us down, don't they? I'm asking Jesus to cry, 'Peace, be still', to the winds that are buffeting you.

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  2. Loved this post! Great reminders, analogies and wisdom! I love trees as well, their shape and form, their reason for existence, their strength against the storms. Feeling refreshed and thanking God for His wonderful promises and constant presence as He gifts us with time and writers such as yourself to encourage us to keep on even in the dry seasons of life! Thanks Mazzy for your beautiful words this morning. Bless you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lesley. Yes, there is much we can learn from trees. I'm glad these words have filled your heart with gratitude to God. May you enjoy his showers of blessing.

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  3. I'm drawn to trees too, Mazzy. My phone is filled with photos of them. Loved your words too.

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    1. Thanks, Rose, for your comment and encouragement. My phone is filled with photos of my grandchildren! And a swag of trees, especially their bark, close up. Such interesting textures, and each unique.

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  4. Wow, Mazzy. We'll have to call you the Tree Whisperer from now on. But it is amazing how God can speak to us through nature. That's happened to me many times. On a bit of a tangent, I also thought about the two ladies who were taking photos. As you know, I love taking photos. But there have been times when I've been so absorbed in taking a photo of something beautiful, I've actually missed experiencing that thing (like the time I 'missed' a Beluga Whale show at the Vancouver Aquarium because I was so intent on snapping away every time that little whale popped its head above the water). So God has reminded me to spend more time actually in the moment enjoying it.

    I find painting outdoors good for that because you really have to look at whatever it is you're painting, seeing it from different angles, really noticing the colours, light and shadow. I thought trees had brown trunks and green leaves until I started painting watercolours. Thanks for the food for thought, Mazzy. And I really must get painting again :)

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    1. Hmm ... perhaps I could join you on a painting excursion and learn something new. I think the strongest lesson here, for me, was the shake up in perspective. It is so easy to lock focus on the things immediately before us, the demanding tasks, or the issues affecting the self. Meanwhile, we can totally miss the wonders that surround us and extend us. Thanks so much for extending the reach of the world's whispers.

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  5. Golly Gosh! I love this post Mazzy. Such a thoughtful post filled with fabulous analogies. Thank you, you Tree Whisperer, you *wink*

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    1. Thanks for loving it! Perhaps we should form a group and call ourselves Whisperers Unlimited. ;) :D

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    2. Haha, good idea Mazzy :-D
      You know I am the Rose Whisperer ... heh hee hee!!

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  6. Hi Mazzy, I adore those sensory gardens, and your analogy of those ladies taking on the role of reviewers by drawing your attention to that tree. Most of all, I love the encouragement to slow down but work steadily, as we consider ourselves and our writing trees in God's garden.

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  7. The power analogies and parables have to reveal truth and wisdom never ceases to amaze me, Paula. Thanks for your comment. You've set me singing ... 'that we should be trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he should be glorified.'

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  8. If you are curious, I've found a link which identifies the tree and gives some history. http://www.trusttrees.org.au/tree/QLD/Toowoomba/Laurel_Bank_Park_Herries_Street_2

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