Kimmer: Ice, Pruning..... and Growth!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ice, Pruning..... and Growth!

Can you believe the summer is almost over? I’ve been very busy and it’s gone by so fast. But while I’ve been driving this summer… I’ve been thinking a lot about the trees. If you were with me last January, you might remember the ice storm that hit this area. Many trees were destroyed, most of those that remained were very damaged. The power was out for 2 full days at my house then periodically on and off during the next week. I felt fortunate to have it at least coming back on for periods to warm the house up though, because many people were without power for weeks and the temperatures were very low, below zero at one point. All those power surges and the only damage I’ve found is a blown something in my air-conditioner that only cost $75 to fix so that was a huge blessing. The tree limb cleanup literally took months. The sound of chainsaws became very familiar in the coming weeks as neighbors found someone to help.
Several trees were cut back so severely they honestly looked like big coat racks, and we wondered why anyone would do that to a tree? They looked so strange and foreign, as if they would never be normal again. I remember hearing people say, why not just cut the whole thing down if you are going to do that? It surely wont live….
I went home to Indiana in February and looking down from the sky as we descended, my first thought was the sudden realization of how full and lush the branches of the trees looked (even without leaves). I had gotten so used to being surrounded by the broken trees, that the unbroken ones really stood out, even from above. I heard many people wonder how many years it would be before the trees around here would begin to look somewhat normal. And this spring, just when bushes and trees were beginning to show signs of life and buds were trying to form… there was a very hard frost. The buds all died. It seemed the trees just couldn’t get a break. You hoped they would snap out of it, but it wasn’t looking good.
Then I remember a day early this summer, I think it was in June. It was wonderfully mild outside in the 70’s and breezy. I had the windows open and was taking a nap on the couch, when I awoke to a lovely sound I hadn’t heard for so long—the sound of the wind rustling in the leaves! What a beautiful noise that is, God’s creation singing. It was then that I realized, the trees were making a comeback! I’ve lived in MO for over a decade, and most years it seems we practically jump from 50 in April to 80 in May to 90s and 100’s until October when we might get back into the 80s. Quite a bit hotter than my northern Indiana childhood. And we get a lot of tornadic violent storms here, but not much genuine soaking rain. Well this year has been so different. The whole spring and summer we’ve enjoyed temps in the 70-80’s until the last few weeks. And rain in more abundance than I’ve ever seen here. Hard rain, gentle rain, all kinds of rain, for weeks and months, I’ve never seen this much rain in Missouri before. It's August and I still have green grass! And this mild summer, with its rain, has restored most of these trees in ways we really just cant believe, many people have commented on it. True, they may not have the kind of shape they used to have. But they have sprouted more leaves in more places than any of us ever thought possible. I’ve watched it all happen so slowly and felt like the Lord was saying … just watch....just wait...I want you to notice something.... I love plants and flowers but I’m really a novice. I know nothing about things like pruning. You know what? In the end, what it seemed would kill these trees ...well it didn’t. Granted, they look very different. But they have definitely grown in ways they never would have if not for the pruning caused by weight of that ice storm. I felt like there was a spiritual truth in this...when you feel you are being 'pruned'...even if it feels like most of your leaves are gone... if you keep your roots deep and continue to drink from the Water that gives life, He will bring you through; things may not have gone exactly as you would have imagined, but you will flourish and grow in ways you never imagined!

Here are some illustrations:
‘ice fingers’ --How thick the ice was and this was only 2/3 of the way through the storm.

I have two trees in my backyard – the top half of this broke off after only 5 hours of icing and crashed loudly to the ground. It was my first clue we were in for quite the weekend. In daylight, I could see it was a total blessing the way it fell. It fell diagonally in the only angle it could and miss the fence, the power lines, and the house. That was a real blessing.

Look at it now:

Here is the other tree in my backyard, now it didn’t suddenly break in two and crash to the ground, but it did bend with the weight of all that ice, clear over to till the limbs were touching the ground. It literally reminded me of the expression of someone ‘bending over backwards’. It seemed so long it had to bear the weight of that ice in that position. Every now and then I’d hear a little crack out of it and hope it was going to make it. After the ice finally thawed… it stayed bent over a very long time but gradually over time, the limbs eventually lifted and pointed that way back up to the sky!

Look at it now:

And here is an example of how some of the trees were pruned back to what look like coat hangers, a skeleton of a tree to many of us:

And here are what those trees look like now! These are simply amazing to me :)

Ok here’s my last set of examples…. I’d said when I posted this one that these trees had a ‘tornado’s been through here’ look to them:

Well look at them now! Ok, does anyone else see a slight resemblance to ‘Dr Suess” trees? That’s what these in particular make me think of ;)

well there you have.. thoughts on trees...pruning... and growth~
blessings :)


At 8/14/2007 8:58 AM, Blogger Janna said...

Wow... what true transformation! Glad for the update and the pictures of renewal...

At 8/14/2007 7:59 PM, Blogger zephaniah3:17 said...

All creation displays God's nature, yes?

I'd like to add my own spiritual-truth-from-gardening that popped into my head (thanks Lord!) as I was reading your terrific blog.

When we first moved to Georgia, the extreme variability of the weather really messed with my head. I had lived in Phoenix for 25 years, where there is one kind of weather--hot and sunny!

The first winter we were here, I covered every plant, tree and bush in our 3/4 acre yard with sheets, blankets, etc. to keep them from freezing. I didn't want my precious baby plants to die! As the years went by, I learned that the freezing and the temporary die-backs were all part of the process of gardening in the south.

This spring, we also had a very late hard freeze after two weeks of abnormally warm temps. Every leaf on every tree, every bulb sending up tender shoots, every impossibly early and fully leafed-out shrub turned black and appeared dead.

But you know what? I'd seen enough of the gardening process in Georgia to say, "Just wait...they're not dead. By late May, they'll be more beautiful than ever."

That's the way it is as we walk with the Father. When we walk through life's valleys as a baby in the faith, we're not sure where God is or if he even cares. But over time, as we see his hand of provision and his sovereign grace at work, we eventually get to the place where we no longer doubt his ability and his will to bring us out of the shadows and into his glorious light.

The more we see of God, the more we trust him, and the less those valleys or prunings or afflictions shake our foundation.

Thanks, Kimmer, for hearing the deep spiritual truth that God was speaking into your life. And thank you for sharing it with us so eloquently (and with such beautiful photos, too!).


At 8/28/2007 9:55 PM, Blogger Liz said...

thanks Kim!! this is how my life feels right now but to see the works of God in renewal is awesome.

At 10/02/2007 6:21 AM, Blogger gail said...

What amazing photos of renewal, Kimmer.


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