by Rodney Marsh
“Whenever we come to an end of something, including life itself, we are not left with understanding but only with wonder.” – Charles Ringma, Hear the Ancient Wisdom: A Meditational Reader for the Whole Year from the Early Church Fathers up to the Pre-Reformation
This Red Tingle tree, in a National Park in South Western Australia, has been given an appropriate name: “The Sentinel.” The tree, according to the notice nearby, has a very impressive 12m circumference at its base. In common with other Red Tingles in the area its core has been burned out creating a small shelter. This ancient tree looked to me like one of the ‘living’ trees out of The Lord of the Rings. I saw this tree while walking the Bibbulmun Track in November last year, and when I recently read John’s words about his vision of a “New Jerusalem… coming down from God…” and a voice shouting “ God’s home is now with his people… he will wipe away all tears from their eyes,” I remember the Sentinel. Here is a New Year poem inspired by this Red Tingle tree.
For hundreds of years
This living giant
Has stood guard
Over each new year.
Winds have torn at her limbs
Fire has eaten at his heart
Thirst has wilted her leaves
But the Sentinel still stands and speaks.
The Sentinel speaks from experience:
“This year will be no different
Our limbs will be torn
Our hearts will be hollowed out
We will thirst,
But, I bear witness, and I know,
‘God’s home is now with his people
The end of tears is near.’”
The Sentinel stands guard
The Sentinel speaks
Can you hear?
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