Luminous Moments – by Rev. Heather McCarrel

“Do you have time to go for a drive?”  He added, “There is something really cool I want to show you.”

Within minutes we were driving out of town, up winding country roads and down narrow one-lane goat trails until we arrived at our destination.  As we closed the car doors, he explained that what stood before me was most likely one of the oldest tree I will ever see.  It was remarkable!  A tall, wide and stately Elm, which in itself is a rarity in these parts. Did you know Elm trees can grow upwards to 120 feet tall?

Reverently, we walked toward this ancient tree and as I laid my palm upon the bark my son explained how, by chance, he came upon this old tree tucked in the edge of an untouched ancient forest along the curve of an old country lane-way.

My son had spent a summer working for the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, and it was the wee creek that ran beside that tree that had brought him out to this forgotten place.  He was tasked with the job of gathering water samples from all the little, out-of-the-way waterways.

The tall grass and over grown vines told me that not many had traveled by this marvelous tree, which made me admire it even more; a hidden gem!   Perhaps its hidden place had protected it from the dreaded Dutch Elm Disease.

This old tree has grown so old it is now starting to part in two. Down the middle of its trunk was a large dark cervix measuring somewhere between 4 feet high to 2 feet wide.  With a tone of wonder I said, “Look, it is a doorway to another dimension.  Perhaps we would find Narnia if we dared to enter!”

My son’s days of such fantastic play are well behind him; I hope only for a time.  He turned and got back into the car but I didn’t want to leave quite yet- the tree and I had just met.  I tried to walk the width of the tree but could not due to the bushes and vines that have grown up around it. I stood in silence trying to imagine all the history this tree had lived through and then, as a final gesture, I ran my hand through its large rippled leaves.

As we drove away I thanked my son for introducing me to this fine old tree and he shared that the day he discovered it he too stood in awe of its beauty and size, “isn’t nature full of amazing surprises?”

John O Donohue, Catholic Priest and poet, was wide awake to God’s beauty in nature.  In his book,  “The Invisible Embrace: Beauty” he writes, “Every life is braided with luminous moments.”

As we move back into the busyness of life may we remember to pause long enough to look around for God’s beauty and to be moved by God’s luminous moments!