The mighty pine tree

Published 9:34 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013

By Rex Alphin

“Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap…”

— Jesus, 30 A.D.

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There you are, standing there as if struggles mean nothing. As if you are somehow immune to hardship and suffering and this grueling journey of placing one foot ahead of another.

You mock us. By your very existence, you mock us. We who strive to make ends meet, who labor to accumulate and achieve, while you showcase your contentment by your lack of striving.

I have been watching you. For years my eyes have turned in your direction, searching for some sign of weakness, some display of Achilles heel. Surely, I have thought, today will be his downfall.

But no. It is just another day to bask in who you are, to rest in your continuation, as if your survival does not depend on yourself and destiny does not reside in your own hands.

I will admit it: I find that attractive.

Your stoic posture stands against my scampering about, as if from your lofty position you gaze down on our relentless endeavors and smile at the absurdity of it all. You, who neither sow nor reap, are fed from a table of bounty and drink from a boundless well.

We wring our clenched hands at what tomorrow may bring and knead out knotted foreheads over possible impending doom. And yet you — you! — continue your silent existence, standing firm and reaching skyward. We worry. You rest.

Without words, you preach a fiery sermon. Without song, you make a sacred call.

Oh, for ears to hear. Is our pace far too quick and our heart far too unsettled? Do we stubbornly pursue that which is empty?

Do your fingers not point heavenward as your feet embrace your place? You do not fight against that which you cannot change. You are a monument to a satisfied life. You appear to rest in One far greater than yourself.

We can learn a lot from you.

Rex Alphin of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is