Yet, even given its long life, this tree is not permanent. One day it will fall or have to be felled. Eventually disease will attack it, or it will be irreparably damaged by wind or ice. One hopes it will never be cut in the name of "progress." Whatever brings it down, come down it will.
All around us and in us, nature is made up of myriad cycles, cycles within cycles, everything changes. Some change is regular and predictable, other changes seem random, but given the logic of nature, there is probably a pattern in these seemingly random changes that we cannot discern. In the Dalai Lama's book, Becoming Enlightened, he writes about escaping the cyclic pattern of existence. It is this very cyclic nature of life that gives me comfort. The faith that there is one permanent, never-altered being that has set all of these complex cycles in motion causes me take heart in the nature of change and relish the experience of witnessing and living the changes that are a part of our existence in this life.
These lines from the hymn that begins with the words that are the title of this post express what is in my heart today:
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
. . . We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.
May we all appreciate the magic of the patterns of nature and the permanence of nature's God.