I am sitting outside, leaning against a tree on a warm seventy-degree day. A light breeze is blowing through my hair. I look to my right and see a pine tree. A large knot is on the trunk of the tree. How did it get there? Why is it there? Some think of the knots as flaws, something detracting from the trees beauty. I think the flaws make them beautiful just like our flaws make us beautiful.
There are several different kinds of tree knots: tight, loose, epicormic, and those caused by black knot disease. Tight knots are knots that form around branches, a loose knot is a knot that surrounds where a branch used to be and now there is just dead matter. Epicormic knots are from over pruning, and black knot disease is a fungus that a tree can get that eats the bark and creates knots.
This particular pine has a loose knot. A beautiful light brown ring with a darker brown center. I can imagine the branch that used to be there. Strong, elegant, beautiful. The needles sprouting from it, the cones prepared to fall to spread their seeds.
Like a human this pine tree is built up, strong, towering, and standing like a man with a purpose. Even the most beautiful and strong people have their flaws like this tree, with its missing branches, falling needles, and this loose knot. What is it’s story? How did he lose the branch to create the knot? Was it a hot summer and it did not get appropriate water? Is it because it could not get enough sun because it was too low? A storm with strong winds? Lightning? This tree has a story, but it is not ashamed, it continues to grow and create new life. We too have stories of how we are beaten down, we lose our branches, our needles, but we too must continue to grow.
We should live like trees then, standing strong and tall. Proud, with a purpose. Paying no attention at all to the little imperfections that we come across. The afflictions that scar our bodies, minds and spirits. We should continue to grow, reaching toward the sky, no matter what flaws, the knots we bear, and no matter what issues present themselves to us.