Friday, February 03, 2012

3rd February

So this is a picture taken last September, as it was far too cold to play with my camera today. But it nicely illustrates my thinking as I wandered around Kedleston again. I’ve no idea about this particular tree, but apparently some of them are around a thousand years old and just considering the world history that’s taken place as they grew and grew that's quite mind blowing. Apparently my favourite walk was laid out when the house was commissioned some 250 years ago and is basically unchanged. It feels weird, imagining ‘the lords and ladies’ in their fine attire perambulating around my muddy woodland route, sidestepping the badger holes and the occasional wild-kill. It seems my son’s namesake - James Paine – was involved in designing the hall, and if I’d been doing my daily walks only three or four years ago, I might have crossed tracks with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes as they filmed ‘The Duchess’. Wow, less than ten minutes from my house and I missed it… naah, I don’t do the ‘star-struck’ thing for anybody except the Lord. And maybe some particularly old trees! I find them fascinating.

Ok, so as I walked past many trees today, they looked quite dead. And some are seriously old. I’m not really a tree expert but I’d guess this was an ancient oak, and to be honest I can’t recall seeing it today, though there are many just like it. Quite a few trees are storm damaged, some with huge branches fallen to the ground. Here and there evidence of a chainsaw at work can be found in the form of piles of sawn timber. But very few are actually dead. No matter the severity of damage and extreme age they keep on sprouting new growth year after year. All it takes is a few weeks of spring warmth followed by summer sun and the deadest looking tree begins to look stubbornly healthy.

So of course I’m thinking, yes, I feel a little like that tree. Quite old, though not exactly ancient. But certainly well weathered, somewhat damaged by the storms of life and of course a particularly large branch has been completely severed. There’s plenty of life still left in the man though. I’m gonna get through this winter season soon enough, and then I hope to see the new growth I’m longing for. In the meantime I’ll work at keeping myself in trim with my daily exercise. Well a 3 mile walk most days ought to do me some good surely. And 20 lengths in the pool is a good start with my swimming. I try hard not to think of my daughter who has been in training for a half marathon and quite happily running for miles and miles several days each week. Today she shared that she’d had to take an injury break so had gone swimming instead. She managed 60 lengths, I presume without real effort. But she’s only 32… I think.

Oh dear, that’s one of those memory blanks that Jane would easily confirm or correct. Yes I miss my wife in so very many ways. But I am getting past the worst and I am going to be all right, I know. Life is good, and it’s going to get a whole lot better. No tears today, not even a hint. And I’m finding increasing clarity about the way forward as well. Just need to stay focussed!

 Philippians 4:8 ‘Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.’ (NLT)


drawingcloser said...

I love to look at old trees, there is at the park that's right across the street that's really pretty I should take a picture of it. I'm glad you post about nature it reminds me to slow down some times life gets so busy. May God give you the strength to get all the way through this storm my friend.


David Paine said...