Even now, on a winter’s day in Mesta Park, it’s the trees you notice first. In a position of prayer, they lift their stark naked limbs toward the sky. What do they pray for? Whatever it is, answers will come. In God’s time. And in unexpected packages.
For winter trees in need of strength, answers are often delivered by a strong gust of wind. Living here in Oklahoma, their wait will be mercifully short; soon, the tree’s petition will be granted as it submits to the wind’s ministrations. Limbs will sway back and forth and long skelton fingers will shake around madly. The tree’s bare bones will grow strong in its dance with the wind. But what of the trees restrained from dancing, those stretched taunt to the ground with wires and stakes? No limbering up for these. No strength. No long life. They are crucified.
If winter trees are in prayer for leaves, they must be patient and persistent as not all answers are delivered by air mail. Exposed and vulnerable, they must wait for new leaves to hide their scars and imperfections. Hungry for a spring feast, they must wait for new leaves to cook a fresh meal. Until then, they fast. Or survive on leftovers. Reduced to a state of dormancy, winter trees must hunker down and humble themselves with unseen busy work as they replenish their root systems deep within the earth. In their wintery faith, they must prepare themselves for a season of visible growth. God knows winter trees need leaves to fulfill their creative purpose — to take in nitrogen and give back oxygen, fruit and nuts to the world. For this, they must wait. Resurrection comes only with spring.