To all appearances he stood strong and invincible. I can only guess how many years slipped by as he grew from a tiny acorn into a venerable oak. What happened during that time? Who sat, as I so often did, beneath the protection of his overarching branches, or watched in wonder as he stood strong when battered by fierce winds and storms. So much stored within the heart of this magnificent tree. I thought, hoped, he was indestructible.
One morning we woke to see his branches bent low to the ground beneath the weight of thousands of leaves coated in ice. I held my breath every time the wind blew - stirring the heavily laden limbs. In a moment the roots let go their hold on the earth, and he sank to the ground. It felt like a great loss.
After careful examination, my husband said the center of the roots had rotted over time. In spite of outward appearances, something had gone wrong beneath the surface and this time he couldn't withstand the storm.
It's "just" a tree, I know, but as I so often do I've tried to draw a lesson from it's fall. Could it be we must be careful to guard the hidden parts of us - to keep them strong and true so we will be able to continue to stand strong in the midst of difficult circumstances?
Or perhaps it cautions against judging by outward appearances. We can easily be deceived into putting our faith in what looks good and strong outwardly when we need to look for truth beneath the surface to the heart of things.
In any case, I will miss my majestic friend.