The trees are calling

“I’m looking at the trees,” she said as I approached her in my kayak on a Northwoods lake.

Tucked into a small kayak, she was an elderly woman bedecked in a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a life jacket. I had been watching her for a while as I paddled across calm waters for she seemed to be just sitting there. Only paddling occasionally. Mostly drifting and looking up.

Was she lost?

“Hello!” I said as I paddled close. “How are you doing?”

“Good morning!” she answered, her voice filled with fluid peacefulness. “I’m looking at the trees.”

“Aren’t they beautiful?” I answered glancing up at green feathery pines, sculptured oak, and white birch backlit against a vibrant blue sky.

“Yes, they really are,” she whispered staring skyward as if memorizing the shapes of the leaves.

Just then a majestic blue heron landed on a low branch right behind her, its wings spread wide like an angel.

“Oh, I’m sorry I missed it,” she said when I told her, “but I’ve spotted two eagles over yonder.”

“I’ll look for them,” I answered. “Enjoy this lovely day.”

“I will,” she said, paddling forward, her stroke as gentle as her voice.

I have thought about that encounter a lot lately, especially as smoke from the Canadian wildfires shrouds our skies with a ghostly haze. For how often do any of us just sit still and look up at the trees? How often do we really appreciate the blessing of their life-giving force, their shade, their habitat for wildlife, their beauty?

As forests throughout the world burn, I am reminded of poet Joyce Kilmer’s words: “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree…”

I’m Marnie O. Mamminga, and that’s my Perspective. Listen to original post HERE.

PHOTO CREDIT: ADAM KING/UNSPLASH

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