Faithfully yours - Winter wonderland—in June


By Neil Strohschein

Neepawa Banner & Press

Believe it or not, that is what my front yard looked like a few weeks ago.

It is dominated by three large poplar trees. They are owned and maintained by the Town of Neepawa. Each year, Public Works staff stop by and trim off the new shoots that spring out from their trunks. And about five years ago, they sent a team of professional “daredevils” who, using nothing but a safety line and climbing spikes, climbed up into the hearts of those trees and raised their crowns by several feet.

Needless to say, I am exceedingly grateful for the maintenance and care these threes receive. But there are two things that the Town of Neepawa staff can’t do. They can’t prevent roots from working their way through cracks in my sewer line and plugging it (which happens on occasions). Nor can they stop these trees from dropping their fluff-coated seeds in my front yard.

That happened this year and there were so many of them that my yard looked like it had just received about two inches of fresh snow. Two hours and seven lawn and leaf garbage bags later, most of the seeds had been cleaned up.

This is, by far, the most seeds I have picked up in the 12 years I’ve lived in this home. Last year, we had none to speak of. This year’s crop made up for it. The elms in my back yard also dropped an extraordinarily large number of seeds. But in their defense, they were probably paying me back for the pruning they received last fall. Trees are funny that way—so I’ve observed.

Mother Nature has ways of reminding us of just how powerless we really are. Any attempt to control her usually ends in failure. She will do what she wants to do (as has been demonstrated time and again in this region) and sometimes the only option we have is to dive for cover and hope the damage she inflicts won’t be too severe.

Mother Nature is also very unpredictable. What starts out as a beautifully calm day can end with a violent thunder storm giving us high winds, massive amounts of rain, huge hail stones and the odd tornado; and causing millions of dollars in crop losses and property damage. Two hours later, after the storm has left, the winds have died down and the sunshine has returned, those in the storm’s path are left wondering how they will clean up the mess and repair the damage.

If there is one thing we can learn from witnessing Mother Nature at her worst, it is that we must never take anything in this life for granted. What we have can be taken from us in the blink of an eye. A violent storm can destroy property. An accident can cause severe injury or death. And we all know how vulnerable we are to a sudden illness which can bring a sudden death.

There is only one thing about which we can be absolutely certain. We are not destined to live forever—here! God has something far better planned for us—a place in his eternal home where what torments us here will never be able to touch us again.

So while we live on this earth, we are to care for it and use its resources wisely. We are to love, accept and forgive others as we have been loved, accepted and forgiven by God. And when life ends, we can say “good night” here, knowing that it will be “good morning” up there.