Hello folks and welcome back to The Eason Clan! Things are starting to shake up around here lately with the COVID Alert Level jumping from Alert Level Four to Alert Level Two. This brings back some normalancy to life, as we are able to go to church, shop, and take part in recreational activities again, just with reduced capacity. Wehoo! Besides that nothing really new has changed for us. Our days have consisted of work, cooking, cleaning, and going outdoors with the fam. However one big change did take place just over a week ago.
Reinforcements arrived on March 20th!
Say goodbye to freezing rain, snow and winter storms and say hello to sun and mild temperatures.
Who am I kidding? We live in Newfoundland!
We had a snowstorm two days ago! 😂
In many ways the coming of Spring is just another date with no real significance, because here in Newfoundland, we usually still have snow on the ground with the high chance of at least one more snow storm (called Shelia’s Brush) mid to late March.
“Get on with the blog bro, didn’t come here for the weather!”
Yeah yeah, I hear you, but as a Newfoundlander, talking about the weather is in my genes man. Here’s an example of an average conversation with a fellow Newfoundlander:
“How ya gettin’ on today Christian?”
“Not bad Tom, how about yourself man?”
“Well by, I’m on this side of the sod so that’s good. Wish the snow would go though by’. I hear we got some weather coming this weekend, hopefully this year will be better than the last year by’ with all that rain we had.”
*Cue up Newfoundland Head Nod*
Today I am taking a trip down memory lane, and I hope you’ll come along with me. We will talking about trees, my childhood adventures and lastly some personal reflection. So sit back, have a coffee or tea, or maybe even a double shot espresso cafe latte (mmmm), and enjoy another post from The Eason Clan.
Trees, Trees, Everywhere
Majestic. Beautiful. Lush.
Not how most folks would label our forests around here.
If you’ve seen pictures of the towering Douglas Fir and Spruce trees of the Ardennes, or the beautiful Scots Pines of the Black Forest and then compared them to our trees…well our trees look like they’ve been on Weight Watchers and experimented on. In fact most of our trees are not very large in size or width. Newfoundland and Labrador has 21 species of trees, with Black Spruce, Balsam Fir, birch, alders as the more common types (Source: http://www.gov.nl.ca). I’d wager you’d find many different types in under an hour, due to their thick density.
Just ask the host for the TV show, ManTracker.
A reality show where the Mantracker has to catch two contestants before they can reach the finish line, usually tens of kilometers away from the start, within 36 hours. The show features numerous locations throughout Canada, with one episode taking place in Western Newfoundland. During the episode two Newfoundlanders kept avoiding the ManTracker, darting into thick clumps of trees and brush. I remember him commenting about how close the trees were and that his horse couldn’t get through many of the areas the contestants went.
Essentially his experience sums up what the woods is like behind my house. It starts with unlevel rocky ground that gradually climbs upwards towards the mountain, with a thick collage of trees in the mix. Large boulders, some the size of compact cars, scattered throughout the area; results of a large volcano ring, so many years ago that spewed rocks around Conception Bay South. I remember standing on some of those boulders, not more than seven years old, defending my ‘tower’ against waves of enemy troops. I would then retreat deeper into the woods, behind a canopy of spruce trees for my second defense. The good ol days.
Since we’re on the topic of trees…
Random Facts: Trees are mentioned in the Bible more than any living thing other than God and people. Every major character in the Bible has a tree associated with it. Trees are mentioned in the first chapter of the Bible in Genesis 1, and the last chapter of the Bible in Revelation 22. (Source: Christianity.com/ What is the significance of trees in the Bible?)
“Woah man, you’re really caught up in trees.”
Yeah I am, because when you think of it, since trees are mentioned so often in the Bible – the first chapter, all throughout, and then the last chapter – we should take the time to learn appreciate them. (I can hear the Environmentalist’s cheering!)
Hopefully this brief background has given you a basic visual representation of the forest behind my house, because we are about to go exploring!
“I’m going on an adventure!”
Bilbo Baggins and I have a lot in common.
Well….I guess we don’t have that much in common, since I am 6’1 Bilbo is 3’… I’ve never killed massive spiders or had a riddle contest with a creepy, bald, skinny former hobbit in the bowels of a mountain.
However I do relate to Bible when he exclaimed, “I’m going on an adventure!” in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie. Indeed I felt that way every time I ran up into the woods behind my house as a kid.
I’ve been a knight, duelling against evil hordes of orcs (spruce trees), slashing wildly at my foes with my wooden sword and stabbing with my birch spear (having to sharpen it after a dozen strikes or so). I’ve been an explorer, searching for treasures under the mountain; I’ve plotted ‘new’ trails wherever my feet carried me (as long as I could see my house that is).
Yes indeed, the forest behind my house is filled with memories. Like the time my best friend shot me with a homemade arrow, or like the time we had a campfire out back, and I forgot to pierce a hole in a can of beans we were was cooking over an open fire. Of course that would have been a common sense thing to do.
Well after the cover on the can started to grow a few inches higher than it should have been, I knew an explosion was imminent.
So with my twelve year old wisdom… I stabbed my pocket knife into it.
Whoosh! Beans for all!
This past week I’ve spent a fair bit of time in the woods behind my house, clearing away the fallen trees and cleaning up paths for the RC course we are making. As I worked away, my children were venturing around the area, stumbling and tripping over fallen branches, toes getting caught in hidden roots under the moss, trying to find their balance in this environment. Isaac gripping the ground in front of him, crawling forward on his stomach up the hill. Railene venturing on ahead, sometimes walking other times running, which usually resulted in her falling. Ava brought up the rear of the caravan, letting out random grunts and whimpers as her self-confidence waned on the unfamiliar terrain.
As I watched, I couldn’t help but smile at their efforts. In fact it started to bring back memories of my own childhood, my own adventures.
Remember the picture at the beginning of the blog? Scroll back up and have a second look.
My oldest son, Benaiah and our Dachshund, Levi (rocking the Biblical names I know). I took that picture a few years ago, one evening on our walk behind our house. As we crested the back of a hill, he turned to make sure I was still there. I happened to have my camera ready and got the picture, just as the sun was starting to go down.
I feel like that sometimes.
Looking back over my shoulder, wondering where time has gone.
It feels like yesterday I was a child exploring that same hill where my son was standing, and now I have my own children running through the woods.
Thoughts then come to mind, “Am I still, you know, am I still the same person I used to be or have I’ve changed?” Sure, I am older and have a big family (today’s standards), but have I lost that childhood side of me in the process, that carefree joy?
I honestly believe we can lose our joy. Whether through life’s struggles; like sickness, depression, relationship troubles, financial hardships, work issues, anything really that could quickly or gradually suck the joy out of our lives.
You could even find yourself saying things like:
“I don’t feel happy anymore.”
“I feel hopeless.”
For me personally I find my emotions can be up or down at times, but unlike happiness which is here one moment and gone the next, joy is something powerful. The Bible says:
“…Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”Nehemiah 8:10
So I looked a little more into the word Joy:
“The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; a source or cause of keen pleasure or delighthttp://www.dictionary.com
I dug a little more and read an awesome article about Joy and Luke 15, “Jesus tells three stories of things lost and then found: a sheep, a coin, and a son. All three end with rejoicing when what was lost was found. God’s joy is in the reconnection or union.” (https://www.christianity.com/wiki/christian-life/what-does-it-mean-the-joy-of-the-lord-is-my-strength.html)
When I am in the woods behind my house, I feel joy rising inside, whether I am alone or as I watch my children play. Why? Because I am reconnecting with my past, and in doing so I am connecting with God, because I believe that God made me and everything around me. So all those good memories, were really Him blessing my life, one moment at a time.
So when I start to feel my joy slip, I spend time with the Lord. Reading my Bible, praying, singing songs and listening to different messages from Christian teachers and pastors. By doing so I get a recharge of joy in my life, which in turn, gives me strength, because He is my source.
Today I want to encourage you. If you have some favourite childhood memories, look back on them. If your situation permits, try and visit those places again physically or through a photo album. I promise it will do you a world of good, to look back on the those precious memories and reconnect. And remember God is always there.
I hope you enjoyed today’s blog, and if you want to keep up to date with my writings, subscribe below. Love to hear from you in the comments.
Also check out this amazing cartoon my friend Shannon drew for The Eason Clan. I love it! Check out her work and photography @WilderWatersNL
See you next time,