Thursday, September 13, 2012
From a Loss Comes Gratitude
I spent this afternoon at the farm, a little over five weeks after the fire that destroyed the house. Although there was a light rain, I knew the trees were suffering both from the heat of the fire and the dryness of another year without adequate rainfall. I wanted to give each tree a good drink with the hope that the current rain would be both cleansing and life-giving.
Plants and trees have always amazed me with their resilience. I have seen the aftermath of forest and prairie fires and the resurgence of plant growth is nothing short of miraculous. Although I will lose some trees, those who were only wounded rather than killed are trying to make their comeback, even if terribly confused.
I am most impressed with the catalpa tree from New Mexico that suffered heat so intense that half its branches burned off or were blackened and charred. Two weeks after the fire, new branches sprouted at the base and by today the living half was sending shoots to the area of loss. The cooler weather sent a message of spring to its damaged growth system and it is now in bloom as well.
The year-old maple tree has sent up a shoot in a Hail Mary attempt at life. Resurrection lilies continue to shoot up among new growth of prairie sage. The oak leaf hydrangea, although burned off at the ground, has sprouted a healthy new plant. Spring bulbs are trying to surface in the blackened earth.
Of course, I miss the house terribly (especially in the rain) but I see the farm in a different light now. It will be a few months before we start to build again, but from these surprising signs of life that spring from terrible wounds I draw hope. All of God’s creation is built to fight for life, adapt, and recover.
I am blessed. I am blessed with land that is loaned to my family for a while. It teaches me daily.
Fall and winter have always been my favorite time at the farm. I love to walk the pastures, delight in watching the turkey mating dance in its craziness, and I love watching the he-men enjoy the deer hunt. The combination of farm memories and happy current moments produce in me hope, gratefulness, and trust.
Ann Voskamp, another writer blessed with land, states, “The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is gratefulness.”
I am indeed grateful.
All is grace.