During a recent chapel service, Gary Henderson issued a challenge for our staff to go out and literally hug a tree. To take time to have an experience while connecting with nature and God’s creation.
The slideshow above shares images from those who accepted the challenge.
To follow, experience an inspirational reflection written by Gary and a sampling of images from his tree encounters . . .
I am not sure when it started, but I have been hugging trees a long time. I have hugged trees on six continents. Sometimes they seem to call my name and I respond with a selfie of the tree and me, sometimes I hand my camera to a traveling companion and ask them to take the picture for me. I often wonder what stories trees could tell if only they could speak. My imagination runs wild as I hear their stories in my mind.
I recently witnessed the clearing away of a grove of trees by a huge claw like machine; it literally ripped the trees from their roots, out of the ground. I am sure that I felt their pain as the trees gave way for what was probably a housing development. I felt profound grief in the moment.
Trees remind me of the splendor in creation. Trees remind me of the creative hand of God at work all around me. Trees speak to the child in me and invites him to come and play. I find comfort and solace in the shade, shelter and embrace of trees. I just love trees!
I recently learned that other than people and God, trees are the most mentioned living thing in the Bible. Trees are referred to in the first chapter of Genesis (verses 11- 12), in the first psalm (Psalm 1:3) and on the last page of Revelation (22:2). In Proverbs, 3:18 wisdom is “a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.” – ESV. I just love holding on to trees.
I am unapologetically a tree hugger and invite you to be one too.
Left: Gary Henderson enjoying his time at a coconut grove in Liberia. Right: While in Liberia he also admired a tree trunk with lots of character and stopped for selfie.
Gary found the Grand Canyon a great opportunity for tree photoshoots.
Visit the National Wildlife Federation and Arbor Day Foundation websites to learn about the benefits of trees and find out how you can order free seedlings.
Enjoy this haiku as we reach the end of our tree adventure:
Embracing the Challenge by Diane Degnan
The fragrant pine tree
Unlike the maples and oaks
Remains ever green