Tuesday, 17 December 2013


When I saw this dead cedar tree at Euphrasia Falls, I marvelled at how the tree had struggled to overcome of the binding of the page wire fence wrapped around it.  It you look closely, you can see how the living body of the wood has tried to grow through the rectangles of metal fence, bulging out where it could, but ultimately restrained by the steel wire. 

Where the ground is rocky and stony, farmers often used live trees as fence posts.  The tree roots served to anchor the fence line more securely than any post or stake driven into a crack in the bedrock.  It made for a good, strong barrier to keep livestock in or, in this case, people out.  We don't know whether the fence wire was responsible for the death of the tree, but it's likely; the effect of the wire is to "girdle" the cedar tree and prevent water and nutrients from moving up from the roots.  The tree eventually died of thirst, even though there is a river running nearby, in the background of the photo.

If you look elsewhere in the background of the photo, you will see new shoots of green; vegetation and saplings that have a chance to survive.

Do you have experience of being "bound" or "restrained" by aspects of your life?  It might be another person, or something to do with work, or an illness; or maybe, something in your past that just keeps hanging on, holding you back, limiting your ability to live life to the fullest.  Most of us have something like that going on, and sometimes, it gets to be a burden heavy enough to have consequences that are as serious as this wire fence was for the cedar tree.

The prophet Isaiah, writing about the deliverance of the Lord's people, proclaimed, "the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord as anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." [61.1]  The imagery of this scripture is full of words connected with Joy's photo: bind, bound, opening, liberty.

I don't know how you deal with the things that limit your life; in my case, I've come to accept some of them...kind of.  I struggle daily with those limitations and sometimes I succeed at overcoming them.  Other times, I'm lucky just to hold my ground.

I've come to understand that being human and living a full life means that while I experience much that is joyful, I've also got to deal with the constraints and limitations I encounter every day.  If I can, that means stepping around them or breaking through them.  That's easiest when I've got trusted friends close at hand to help with the tough spots.  I've also come to realize that when the opportunity for "boundless" living presents itself, I've got to grab it and run with it like the precious gift it is.  It seems to me that the more I celebrate the gifts I receive, the easier it is to deal with the down side of life.  Maybe that's what is meant when we pray for God to give us strength.

Pat  <><

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