Nola’s Beech Tree

Categories: Community,Prayer,Stories


Dear Beloved,

I’m writing to let you know that tomorrow, first thing in the morning, a company will come to take down Nola’s beech tree. This tree is inside the play ground fence, just by the gate. The tree’s been dead a year, now. We thought we might have extended its life by trimming it up last fall, but still it died.

The beech tree is now a danger to our kids, to anyone standing under it. Upon advice, we decided to have it taken down, especially before the snow weighs heavy on it.

Besides being a beautiful beech tree, the tree bore a dedication to Nola, a daughter of the congregation, a mover and a shaker at Central Congregational Church. One of Nola’s gifts was connecting folks to folks, and it was Nola who found Leonel Cermeño, our sexton of more than 20 years. Leonel and Nola worked together, and Nola recruited Leonel for Central Congregational, now Hope Central. So many good things Nola did for our church.

We will save Nola’s plaque. I’ll show it to you on Sunday. Then we’ll find a suitable way to honor Nola in a new way.

Today, Lisa and Jen, our Admins looked out their office window, and there on a branch with no more bark, was a red tailed hawk, the first hawk we’ve ever seen. That beech tree has been a touchstone for children, for Nola, for us, and finally today, a red tailed hawk.

The first poem I ever memorized was Joyce Kilmer’s Trees. I give it to you now and pray it is a suitable elegy and prayer for our beech tree.


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Laura Ruth


Author: Laura Ruth Jarrett

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