The redbuds have blossomed into full glory, announcing that spring is really here. A particular one along my drive to work stands out. It’s the largest redbud tree I’ve ever seen…clearly ancient, with thick, gnarled branches, broken and nearly black with age. Despite its elderly status, its blossoms are thick and as cheerful as its younger companions along the roadside. Age has not diminished the beauty it offers the world.
The old tree is an encouragement, a reminder of what we can offer at every stage of life. Having passed the halfway point in my career, I’ve begun to face an eventual winding down of my “productive” adult years. I’m just beginning to think through how to stay productive until the end. I’ve never been one to sit on the porch and watch the world go by. While my husband deserves to spend some time together on the porch, I know I’ll need more than that for how I spend some of those slowed down hours.
Meanwhile, the ancient redbud gives me hope. I’ll smile at it as I pass by every day, watching it carry on until its own inevitable end. In its beauty and its shade, it is still productive.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” –Henry Ford