Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Comfort Maple

Preposterously, I have only recently learned of the Comfort Maple, a tree gracing a plot of land in Pelham, believed to be the oldest sugar maple tree in Canada. It's approximately 500 years old. Wow. "Born" approximately in and around 1500. Perhaps it was even a tiny seedling when Christopher Columbus discovered America.

Anyway, Joel told me about the Comfort Maple when we were out for a drive, several weeks ago. We were on Cream Street in Pelham, but we must have been on the wrong section of Cream Street or something because we didn't actually get to it that day. I thought, oh well.

Yesterday, I went for a drive as something to do with Emmett. One of my favourite aspects of the fall colouring in the Pelham area, which I am lucky to live very close to, is the way the bright colours of the leaves seem to turn the entire sky, the entire daylight, brighter than usual. Like someone turned an extra light on.

My navigational skills are incredibly lacking (usually when I think I'm going the right way, I'm not. Sadly, that has ironically become my navigational strategy: go the opposite way that I think is the right way). I ended up bee-bopping up and down various roads, until I was on Balfour Street and decided to turn right on Metler. Then I saw the sign: Comfort Maple.

I drove down the little drive to where the tree stood. Majestic. Absolutely huge. Old. Strong.

I read the sign, which described a little history about the tree: it had been preserved by the Comforts, who had owned that property for generations. It was dedicated to a family member named Earl. At the bottom of the sign was the statement, "O Lord, how glorious are thy works."

With my hands still wrapped around the steering wheel, a light drizzle pattering across the windshield, and no one else in sight, I felt comforted. Comforted that such an old tree was still alive. Comforted that we have such a powerful God who created things that can be alive for 500 years. Comforted by the beauty of the gnarled branches, the thickest trunk I've ever seen, the bright yellow leaves gingerly leaving the tree to rest on the ground. I wondered at how many seasons this tree has seen, how many lifetimes this tree has lived.

O Lord, your works are truly glorious.

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