Minute Meditations

Tree Pietas

There is a phenomenon—if there’s a scientific name, I don’t know of it—where the trees break and fall into one another’s arms. I’ve come to call these tree pietas. A ripped branch catches at an angle in the V-shape of a nearby tree, and the stronger tree holds it. Almost always, each walk brings me to the angular shapes of a newly formed, geometric tree pieta. Often, an entire tree weakens, no longer able to stand upright, and instead of falling horizontally on the ground, its trunk is being cradled within the branches of the taller, vigorous tree. I’m now a seeker of these tree pietas, because they remind me of how the psalms catch me. Something tender stirs within me when I see the connections of these trees. When I myself need to let go of parts of my life, or my spirits are falling, the lines and stanzas of the psalms catch me and keep me there. Sometimes my need for support is as random as flipping open to a page and finding “He blows with his wind and the waters flow.” Where I was once breaking and falling, I am now embraced by the words and held aloft in their branches.

—from the book What Was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms by Maureen O’Brien

What Was Lost by Maureen O'Brien


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Includes Saint of the Day, Minute Meditations, and Pause + Pray.