The Tale of Three Trees

A poem upon reflection of Good Friday and the cross on which our Savior hung.
Praise God it is not the only tree there will ever be . . .


In the beginning
The first tree was planted.

Its branches cast shadows that felt like shade
Its nectar held tightly to secrets worth everything to those who sought them
Its fruit drew the hearts of man

At dawn, the sun hit this tree just so
So that all who sought to take hold of its secrets would find their way to its base
Up, up, up the solid branches to receive from this tree its truth

But knowledge
Is costly

And secrets
Destroy families

And man’s hearts are fickle

So this tree fed its seekers for generations with long-lasting fruit of
good and evil, war and peace, sacrifice and suffering¬
And man ate their fill

And yet, there was no satisfaction
Only a long-harbored dream
That this would not be the only story

And so, the second tree was planted.

This tree was grown in the hidden places
Away from cool shade
Never bearing much fruit at all

This tree was smaller, but cast a long shadow
Some even said this tree was cursed

In the hidden places, there wasn’t much rain
And who would water such a tree?

It splintered easily
Which is why it did not resist being cut down

So, down came the second tree
For this tree had work to do
Its purpose had been set

This tree would bear an incredible burden

The time had come, and the cries of man were deafening
It wasn’t enough that the tree had been cut – it must now be carried
Dragged through rocky streets – at midday

The sun, scorching. The shouts, brutal. The street, so long

Up, Up, Up, the hill
Until the destination was in sight

The skull place it was called

Up, Up, Up – the tree was raised, holding its broken burden
Though this burden didn’t seem to belong to the tree

The other trees from the hidden places carried burdens, too, but not like this one.

This tree bore more than a burden, but an answer
To questions long asked, and dreams long dreamt
Asked and dreamt since the planting of the first tree

But still, this felt so wrong.
Maybe this tree was cursed.

First, came the quake – threatening to break the tree in two.
Then the darkness – like night – a dangerous shadow devoid of peace
Then – the whisper

And it was as if nothing else mattered, but the voice which spoke to the roots the tree had long forgotten.

This tree bore something pure in the midst of evil. This tree bore light in the midst of darkness.

And, then, nothing. The tree was released of its burden – splintered and stained as it was – The tree had fulfilled its purpose.

And so, the second tree was burned to dust.

And when the second tree caught fire . . . Suddenly the fruit of the first tree withered. Its sweetness soured. Its allure eclipsed.

And the first tree, stripped of its power, burned to dust alongside the second.

On the winds of the mornings to come, that dust came to rest in a new place full of new beginnings. And a third tree was planted.

A Great Oak with a sister across the river. Though the memories of the first and second tree were written in its rings, this third tree was not bound by the roots which held the first two hostage.

This third tree was alive.
Fully alive.
A giver of life.

This third tree cast no shadow
It’s fruit brought healing
It’s leaves brought comfort
It’s song called out to man

“Whoever will come, let them come.”

And so, no more trees were to be planted. Because no more trees would ever be needed.

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