The past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with a friend on building a bunk bed from pine. He has been a woodcutter a long time and it has been an amazing journey as we went out to select our trees. I didn’t know that pines grow straighter in the gulleys. Why? They’re reaching for the light and so there are less limbs because they must use all their energy to push toward the light.
I learned to use a draw knife to strip away the bark and then watched and waited for the sap to ooze out of the half frozen logs and ran my hands down them to seal them in. We measured and cut and began to piece the bed together. Jason was able to share a particular log with me from an Aspen he’d been eyeing for a while. It had mountain lion claw marks running up it and we used it for the upper fascia to cover the long board across.
As we worked, we talked, we laughed and sometimes….we cried. It’s been two years since Jason’s father died and the saw mill was one he bought for his dad and him to build a house together with a special room for his dad. Through family battles after his father’s death, his inheritance was stolen from him and there are a few things that remain important to him. He learned much from his grandfather and father and his desire to create things the old way is one of those gifts. The bed will take longer than expected as Jason finds inspiration as the bed goes up and the plan gets more customized.
I will treasure the adventures we have taken into the forest, searching for just the right trees, finding hidden surprises as a mama rabbit ran and Jason tried to teach me how to throw his jacket over her and she would freeze. Alas, she ran too quickly, but I learned much that day. The scars on the aspens from animals seeking food (supposedly an aspirin-like compound beneath the bark they like) drip with their life-giving blood, the few rose hips, ripe and red, left behind from the scavenging birds and wild animals, and the trees once laden with beautiful leaves of gold now standing white and tall and surrounded by the evergreen pines. The gift of pine pitch, resin forced into the bottom of a tree when struck by lightning of fire, in an effort to save it’s life-giving source and the wonderful symbolism of the largest organism on the planet all interconnected by one male that clones itself and creates an interwoven web of life that stretches across wide sections of the earth. The beauty of trees, all standing amongst one another, all reaching for light and all serving a purpose for the world around them as a source of food, medicine, shelter and warmth.
It reminds me that we are all connected to one male, one savior, who we attempt to be like. We attempt to reach for more light and grow straighter, providing food for the hungry, healing for the sick, shelter for the refugee, and the warmth of a love that is unconditional and extends beyond prayer, embracing another who needs love as we are also embraced by His love like the trees reaching higher toward the light and yet always planted firmly in the ground. A source of strength, power, simplicity and inspiration.
So tonite, I reflect on those strong trees in our own life that reached for the light, pulling themselves out of the gulleys of darkness and loneliness to serve a greater purpose. So when my grandson lays down on his ‘big boy” bed one night, I pray he will sense that strength and friendship and love and light that built his bed; all working together to produce something greater in life.