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Donna Barker

Some advice from above

With the beautiful autumn weather now here, it’s easy to turn my eyes toward the trees as I travel from home to work and drive around Bureau County for my various assignments.

Each year, I eagerly watch the trees for those first tinges of reds and gold after a summer of greens. I’m always amazed at the beauty of those trees as they are transformed each fall into kaleidoscopes of color.

Of all the wonderful parts of nature, I admit I’ve been partial to trees my whole life.

Coming from a timber business background, my family depended upon trees, but we also took care of trees, replanting and planning for future generations. Trees represented much more than just a livelihood to me.

I remember being in a college class one time when we were asked to chose our favorite part of nature and explain why. I chose the tree, for its strength and for its endurance in the time of storms. A friend of mine chose the wind because it was always moving. Trees were stuck in the ground and immovable, she said.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

But I still contend that trees can be a wealth of encouragement and inspiration to us, if we take the time to walk slowly.

The other day, my daughter brought to my attention a seven-point listing titled, “Advice from a Tree,” by Ilan Shamir. The author’s name was originally Scott Alyn, but he changed his name in 1996 to Ilan Shamir, which apparently means protector of trees. His new name more clearly reflects his passion for trees and the inspiring messages they bring, he said.

According to Shamir, there is much we humans can learn by observing trees and how they handle the lives they are given. From his study of the tree, Shamir says he has taken the following advice:

“Stand tall and proud.

“Sink your roots into the earth.

“Be confident of your natural beauty.

“Go out on a limb.

“Drink plenty of water.

“Remember your roots.

“Enjoy the view.”

Shamir’s “Advice from a Tree” made me smile, but it also made me think. I would do well to follow the tree’s advice, I think.

Maybe sometimes we, as people, tend to get too fancy, too deep, too complicated when it comes to figuring out how to live our lives. I know we are supposed to be profound and wise as adults, but sometimes the simpler things may be the most profound, the most encouraging.

For me, I’ve written down the “Advice from a Tree” points on little cards to keep at work, in my purse, on my night stand. Sometimes it’s too easy to forget when you hear something worth remembering.

As always each autumn, I plan to take a couple extra rides through the countryside to enjoy the turning colors of the fall leaves. But hopefully, I will also remember there’s more to a tree than just its colors.

BCR Senior Staff Writer Donna Barker can be reached at dbarker@bcrnews.com.

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