The shade of a tree
Serit arbores, quae alteri saeclo prosint. “A person plants trees for the benefit of later generations.”
These words of the Roman poet Caecilius Statius (220 – 167 BC) may not be original to him. And, poets, preachers, and philosophers have certainly reworded them in countless ways since. But the idea is always the same. The planting of a tree, under whose shade the planter may never sit, is still a blessed act.
St. Paul bid a fond farewell to the beautiful oak tree on its north lawn this week. Carpenter ants had dangerously hollowed out its insides despite arborists care for the tree over the decades. We don’t know exactly when it was planted without a close count of the rings. But it provided a marvelous canopy of shade for decades of outdoor activity at St. Paul. We’ll soon plant a new tree, knowing that some of us may never be able to enjoy its shade but that future generations will be blessed by our deed.