A Prayer Bench Guest Post
By Rosemary Ingraham, Arrowwood Alberta  

This sunny Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting on my deck, under the canopy of my mountain ash tree, while being serenaded by any number of songbirds.

When my husband and I were married, 49 years ago today, and built our home on our farm in Southern Alberta, there was not a tree to be seen. Being a Maritime girl, from New Brunswick, I could not imagine living without trees, and so began years of planting, watering, and pruning.

Now that I am a widow, my trees offer me shelter, beauty, peace, shade and most of all comfort. I enjoy eating on my deck surrounded by my oasis of trees. In my back yard, next to my garden, I have a basket chair in my huge Brandon elm, where I often enjoy my afternoon tea and a good book.

But today, my mind is drawn back to New Brunswick, where as a child, I spent many happy hours playing on the swing in our big Balm of Gilead tree, or climbing trees in our nearby orchard. Sadly, those trees are gone, but the memories live on.

The Balm of Gilead, is mentioned twice in the book of Jeremiah and in a lovely old African Spiritual in Voices United, called There is a Balm in Gilead. Just as memories are a balm to our souls, so are the living, breathing trees in my yard a healing balm to me, as I remember my life partner and the many hours we worked together creating this beautiful yard, I now enjoy.

(Rosemary’s reflection was a response to a meditation,”Strong as Living Trees” found in the Prayer Bench collection Summer Soul.)