February 11

birch tree in winter

The following poem by Eugene Peterson is about a beech tree, but the image that came to my mind when I read it was of the birch trees that grow here in New England. They stand out against the drab colors of winter.

The Lucky Poor
“Blessed are the poor in spirit”

A beech tree in winter, white
Intricacies unconcealed
Against sky blue and billowed
Clouds, carries in his emptiness
Ripeness: sap ready to rise
On signal, buds alert to burst
To leaf. And then after a season
Of summer a lean ring to remember
The lush fulfilled promises.
Empty again in wise poverty
That lets the reaching branches stretch
A millimetre more towards heaven,
The bole expand ever so slightly
And push roots into the firm
Foundation, lucky to be leafless:
Deciduous reminder to let it go.

From Holy Luck by Eugene H. Peterson, Theology Today– Vol 44, No.1 – April 1987

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