“You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.”
For nearly 25 years, we have greeted mornings through the limbs of our beautiful copper beech tree. The branches of this slow-growing specimen sprawl and stretch toward the corner of our front porch, blessing us with coppery green leaves and strong, elephant-skin branches capable of supporting the most vigorous tree-climber.
I’ve photographed our copper beech in every season, often with one of my boys dangling in her branches. From winter when gray limbs promise spring-time budding through the lush fullness of summer. She wears the seasons well.
With fall settling into our valley, the tree’s leaves are taking on their copper hue and stiffening a bit. But unlike the stunning sugar maple at the edge of our creek, the copper beech doesn’t blanket the ground with a brightly colored carpet in the autumn. In fact, the slender oval leaves often cling to the tree until spring, when fresh buds force the old leaves to drop to the ground.
Winter is when our tree can be heard “clapping”.
When sharp cold winds blow through the stiffened leaves it sounds very much like the great, towering tree is giving the world a round of applause.
Isaiah 55:12 took on deeper meaning some years ago when my husband and I celebrated the life of one of his mentors. A timber buyer and tree farmer with decades of experience, this fellow had passed his vast knowledge on to my young husband through all the hours they spent together logging area woodlots. When the woodsman’s earthly life ended, it seemed fitting to share this verse with his widow.
Our friend was a fine man who left a rich legacy. We felt he truly did “go out in joy” and was “led forth in peace.” As he met his heavenly reward, we imagined the natural world he loved so much was indeed bursting into song and giving him a standing ovation.
The poetry of Scripture is a rich blessing we sometimes miss as we search for answers, direction, promises, hope. But when we slow down, pause and contemplate the beauty of God’s Word simply for the sake of savoring the vivid images and lyrical cadence, we unearth a precious gift.
I praise you, Creator of all that is beautiful, for opening our minds and our hearts to the treasures you have hidden in your Word. Thank you for loving us enough to inspire writings rich with images from this world you crafted. Selah