Especially the giant ones... The ones that look like they've been right there, just like that, for at least a hundred years. It's hard to understand how a blade can dig its way through such a sturdy trunk, but somehow it can. And the sap bleeds, drips, sticks. And the trunk wavers. Then the tree falls and the whole earth feels its shudder.
Suddenly all that aliveness is just dead wood.
But there are two hopes because that isn't ever the end of a tree.
There is hope because the trunk won't be left to rot forever. It will get hewn and sawed and shaved into something we use. Or something we admire. (Or something we don't even notice. But it's there.)
And another hope: When a trunk falls, a stump is always left behind alone. Jagged. The thick heart-sap pooling up. It'll get forgotten for weeks, or months, or even years. But something will be happening in the dirt. The roots are alive. Slowly, slowly, tiny shoots work their way out of the ground. And from one dead tree, dozens of new trees come up living.
"For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down,
that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not ease.
Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches
like a young plant." (Job 14:7-9)
For there is hope of us, if we are cut down,
that our roots will be alive.
Even if we fall, we cry, we run. Even if we hate. Even if we betray. Even if we ignore, forget, get lost,
give up, fall down, ruin, tear, snap, break promises, steal praises, lie, hurt, hide;
Yet at the scent of water and at the trickle of grace our roots can grow and bud and put out branches
like a new life.