Sunday, September 16, 2012


Beside Living Waters, Yorktown, VA

"The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's Tree."
--Thomas Campbell

I take a lot of photographs out in nature and I especially like to photograph images of light such as sunrises, sunsets and reflections. Not too many images of trees catch my eye, but one did as I was standing on the hallowed ground of the final battle of the American Revolution in Yorktown, Virginia. The graceful, wide ranging branches of a tree that was growing beside the York River immediately caught my attention. This living creation seemed to be bowing in silent reverence. Its symmetry and innate beauty is a visual testament to the last breaths taken by so many patriots that had fought and fell in the pursuit of freedom at this place. Their life blood had literally been spilled on this ground and it’s plausible that elements had eventually been drawn up by the giant tree’s life giving root system to sustain the organism.

I’m reminded of the writings of the very first Psalm in which those who place their faith in God are likened to a tree that is planted beside flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry. The Psalmist relates that your fruit ripens in its time and your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun. No matter what you do, you prosper, i.e., when we apply God’s wisdom the fruit or results we bear will be good and receive God’s approval. This doesn’t imply an easy life, but a worthwhile life of true value. The Psalmist continues that those who turn their back on Him are like fallen husks of wheat, tossed by an open wind, left deserted and alone. Their path will end tragically, but the journey of all has been charted by the Eternal if we choose to follow. Those first Americans sought individual and religious freedom and dreamed of a future where their descendants worshiped God in a grand experiment of diversity and the unbridled pursuit of happiness. They planted their dream of a new country and new beginnings beside a stream of living water and the roots ran deep and they were never thirsty again.

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