Pine Trees in Baguio

It is funny how the same experiences can bring about such different effects. I can recall going to Algonquin Park in Ontario when I was about ten. We had only been in Canada about four years at that point, and it was the first chance that we had as a family to see the “wilds” of Canada, as we understood the term. For me it was a life changing experience. I breathed in the sweet smell of the pines and drank in the sight of the water glistening like a field of dancing diamonds in the sun and felt a connection in my soul to that majestic and untrammelled beauty. I understood what a privilege it was to be a Canadian, and I knew with a certainty that has never left me that Whoever made all that was Good beyond human comprehension.

I have been fortunate to have seen much of the world’s beauty, and I never cease to marvel at the delightful creativity of God. But there is something about standing in a pine forest that speaks to something in me that I almost cannot fathom, and draws something out of me that I cannot fully explain. Baguio City in the Philippines is surrounded by pine trees. This picture is taken from our balcony at the guest home on the grounds of the Philippine Theological Seminary. Just standing there is a quasi-religious experience for me.

There are prettier trees, catalpa and frangipani, for example. And there are more impressive ones, like baobab and banyan. But there is nothing like pine. The needles blossom out like a spray of water frozen in time in a green cascade, filtering light with their delicate softness. The trunks are dark red-brown, with a rugged, textured warmth, sturdy and firm, with graceful and surprising curves. The underbrush is invariably clean, inviting you to stand and walk among its cathedral pillars. And there is no aroma more subtly invigorating and calming to the spirit.

I know that when God calls us back to Canada, as one day He surely will, that I will once again head for the Canadian woods, preferably in a canoe, to drink in His beauty in a form that He has in some fundamental way wired me to understand. Until that day, this one will have to do.

For those waiting to hear how Pam is doing, she is very busy with the TWR team in Baguio and will blog as soon as she gets a minute. We are both pretty sure that this will not be our last trip to the Philippines!