The Wonders of a Landscape

This past week, I was able to experience one of my favorite landscapes in Alabama. That landscape is this incredibly old tree in my family’s home: Lamar County, Alabama. This tree has been the source of many good memories over the years: nature excursions, Sunday drives, peaceful Bible study, and many more. However, I have never sat and observed it for itself. As I sat in a chair under the shade of its massive branches, I began observing many things that I under-appreciated: Leaves, branches, vines, all blocking the beautiful sunshine of a fall day. Birds were in the air singing the song of creation, of new life. I found myself surrounded by various creatures, some seen, some unseen. No matter what position I was in, or where I was sitting, I found myself completely at peace. The serenity of God’s creation is second to none. I was only accessible by one small dirt road that winds through foliage for multiple miles before spitting you out at this tree. Green everywhere, thanks to cold fall being slightly delayed and many evergreens all around. I was at least ten miles from any people – maybe that’s why it’s so serene…. The landscape was teeming with life, and I a part of it. When standing at a different angle, the sun shines differently. I still see everything I already saw, but also, I see further down the road. There is still nothing but vegetation, dirt and animals as far as the eye can see. Everything is quiet. There is the occasional bird chirping or squirrel moving, but other than that, just the rustling of the leaves. I have never been in a more peaceful setting; it is completely serene, and I can think so well. I smell nature. I smell grass and clean, crisp air. The dirt has a slight smell to it, but it’s hard to describe. I love the way nature smells, like life. The landscape is rough, not comfortable, but raw. The weeds are not soft, but rugged, it’s not comfortable, yet somehow very peaceful. I sat and pondered the history of this tree, and all that it has seen over undoubtedly hundreds of years. Because my grandparents have lived here for 50 years, and because a small part of it still stands, I know that there used to be an old homestead to the right of this tree, but it has been abandoned since the 1970’s. There isn’t much left of that old place, just a small structure, nature has almost completely taken over. The place is now just a part of the county land. It belongs to the county, and they have just let the land exist as it is. People can come use the land as they see fit – as long as they are good stewards. The history of this place can’t be observed, as I said, it’s up to people to share its history, and memories. My grandparents are able to share the tree’s history, well at least around 50 years of its history, but not much more. I think the history of this place is important, but honestly the current situation is just as important. It’s a serene place where people can be alone with nature and enjoy God’s creation. These unseen things (the bugs, various creatures, history) don’t have as much of a large impact because this landscape is all about being in the moment, taking in what you are witnessing. However, it is still fun to sit and wonder just what all has happened at its roots.

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