The woodlands are battered. Bruised everywhere, ripped to shreds. That confrontation with the wind last night left the ground strewn with half-trees, branches, leaves and shrapnel. I’m glad I wasn’t there to see the domestic abuse – the woodland shivers traumatised in the daylight, and the marital disharmony crunches beneath my feet like scraps of shattered plates and vases.
I couldn’t find a path. I knew where it should be, but it was buried deep in debris. At one point I stopped at a fallen tree – it had the girth of my arm, and its exposed wound revealed strips and spikes of pale cream fractured bone. I felt it, sympathetic to the breach. It could not be set or bound, so I held it for a while, feeling its life ebb away. I could see why it broke there – a weakness of invisible rot had eaten away the exposed side, waiting for due stress to reveal it.
Would I have withstood the wind? It mercilessly stripped the weakness, the rot, and the death from each living thing. The rooted is what’s left, and only that. I think of Elijah in the windstorm, seeking the face of God. What was left of him, by the time the Lord came in the whisper? What parts of his life – his fears, his anger, his pride and his anxiety – had been blown far and fast, burned in the fire and buried in the earthquake? There must have been hardly anything left of him.
But the part that was left heard the voice of God.