A number of years ago we were visiting our friends in Iowa. In their front yard is a very old tree. The local tradition claims this tree was standing when some of the first pioneers were moving west. As I stood there I could almost hear the tree sing a hymn.

I stand here gazing at the sky.

My roots digging deep in soil, rocky and dry.

Yet I sing each morning a hymn of praise

Giving thanks to the ancient of days.

I’ve heard tell of brothers and sisters of longer years

Sequoias in the west old and with no fears.

Beginning as younglings when nature’s refrain

Was a newer melody and not yet stained.

But here I was planted as people came with hope

Looking for new lives no longer wanting merely to cope.

Traveling west to plant families in this ground

To sing pioneer hymns and rejoice in nature’s sound.

Refusing to survivie on broken dreams

They made lives on prairies and near streams.

Now years later I stand here still bold and strong

Continuing to sing my pioneer song.

Then on our return this year we discovered the tree had died. Time to sing the last refrain…

The darkness has come,

My days are finally done.

I sang at each sun rise

But now nature has closed my eyes.

Do not grieve for me

I have been set free.

Sing now your hymn of praise

Giving thanks to the ancient of days.