Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
– Genesis 2:8-9
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
– Revelation 22:1-5
The photo is of a neighbor’s yard. Our next-door neighbor’s evergreen tree obscures the middle of three trees in the neighbor’s yard across the side street. Those three trees usually turn colors late in the season. Yet, this year the trees are in three different stages at the same time. The leaves will turn from green to yellow to orange and to red, if they stay on the tree long enough. The hidden middle tree is mostly green, with only hints of yellow appearing. The tree to the right and at the far side of the yard is orange and red. The tree to the left is a lot more yellow than the photo allowed. If it had not been cloudy, all three trees would be glowing.
This year was strange. The summer weather never stopped until Autumn (or Fall) was half over. This seemed to have a major effect on the color change. It was almost green one day – yucky yellow the next – ‘get out the rake’ the day after. This photo was taken roughly on Halloween and within a week, the leaves on the tree to the left were in everyone’s yard and the other two trees were getting thin, a week later than that, they were bare. Fall foliage coinciding with a cold front that brings rain and high winds always tends to wreck the colorful landscape. The fallen leaves are yellow, too little color change before the wind and rain did them in.
My neighbor’s trees remind me of the apple tree near our apartment in Watertown, MA, my last fall on active duty in the military. The apple tree was almost perfectly spherical. When the colors started to change, they changed from top down. It was as if this tree knew that it was on a military installation and had to do things in military order (today – no longer a military installation). At one point, the top of the tree was bare; the bottom of the tree had green leaves; and there was a rainbow in between with every shade from green to yellow to red and even brown visible in distinct rings, almost – as the wind blew, the rings mingled a bit.
That made me think. What are the colors of the leaves of the tree of life? In a city with streets paved of gold, would too much yellow, orange, and gold be off-putting? Would the stark contrast of the green leaves bring a Joy to your heart? I doubt if there would be any seasons, since there is no longer any night, but just having a beautiful tree to look at for a few millennia, that might be my second stop in heaven. My first is to gaze into my Savior’s face, for a few millennia – as if time mattered anymore.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.