Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Wind That Blows Actually Holds Me Fast

We live in a very windy area here in Vermont. It is lovely farmland but since our land used to be pasture and cornfield, there are not many native trees immediately around our house -- so we have embarked on an annual effort to do just that - return to nature some of the "hardware" that seems to have been removed when humans came to town. Hopefully over time we will have some windbreak as well as cover for more birds to roost...but I do get concerned about our young striplings when the wind blows like a hurricane force gale.

Our first year here, we planted a young maple that we bought at a nursery. We didn't realize that the trunk had a bit of a bend in it when we picked it out, but we staked it up as instructed to give it some support as the roots took hold over the first year. It did look a bit "indpendently minded" in the standing-up-straight department, however, even though we were assured by the nursery that all would be well in time.

After the first three years, it was still crooked and we gave up with any additional attempts to help Mother Nature straighten up our firstborn with the various experiments we utilized to help it stand a bit less crooked. 

We asked a local nurseryman (who specializes in native plantings) about our little quandry and his advice was: "Don't stake the tree any longer." He went on to explain that in a prevailing wind like the one that whoops across this landscape, the tree will actually develop a stronger root system on the side of the tree where the wind is always blowing. It is those roots that will anchor the tree and keep it rooted in the wind because they will grow deeper, stronger and make the tree more resilient. If we stake up the tree, the roots won't strengthen on that side and it will actually be weaker in the face of the wind.

Well, this certainly reminded me of the advice that inevitably comes when adversity strikes -- "This will make you a stronger person." I have to admit that I don't always like to hear that advice as true as it is. I don't want to experience adversity in order to become a stronger person -- can't I become a stronger person some other way that is less painful and seemingly unproductive?

I don't really have an answer to that rhetorical question, but I do know that when the Wind has blown in my life - as it inevitably does for anyone - my "roots" have been made stronger as well. Can it be that the Wind that blows actually holds me fast?

The Wind is an interesting metaphor for God. You can't see where it comes from nor where it goes. You can't hold it and you certainly can't control it. It blows where it will and you only know it is there by seeing the action it stirs whether that be a free-wheeling kite doing somersaults in the sky or a vulture spiraling on outstretched wings simply enjoying flight or an unexplained force compelling you in some new direction that you had never considered before.

So, it's kind of comforting to think that the power of the Wind is not only meant for turning wind turbines, but actually can become the means by which my roots are strengthened enabling me to remain fixed in something greater than myself.