The Man Who Planted Trees

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Assure yourself by praying…

“I pray to restore my world with color and beauty

I bring my world to life.”

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

— Gandhi

A famous author once saw an extraordinary film about the life of Elzeard Bouffier, a humble shepherd who turned a wilderness into a lush forest. In a lifetime spanning the two World Wars, while madmen killed each other for worldly power, this individual quietly and anonymously brought his world back to life, planting one acorn at a time. He not only created natural beauty, but contributed to healing an entire town that had fallen into despair—one man, working gently, living day to day, seeding love wherever he went.

Each of us has a forest we can plant, to bring our world back to life. Our trees may not be spruces; they may be children, songs, art, ideas, messages, writing, or any other gift that comes to us and through us.

What impressed the author most about Elzeard Bouffier was the humility with which he conducted his forestry ministry. He was silent most of the time; he did not seek acknowledgment and never asked anyone to follow him. He simply knew what he had to do and went about the business of doing it.

This author once met Scott and Helen Nearing, the famous couple who initiated the back-to-the-land movement in the 1930s. Although the Nearings’ had well-paying jobs and comfortable city lives, they moved to the mountains of Vermont, grew organic food, heated with wood, and nurtured their land. At the time, they were laughed at and criticized. Now they are considered pioneers and virtual saints. The author asked Helen, “How do you feel now that so many people are doing what you began?”

“It’s wonderful,” Helen answered, “but that’s not why we did it. We did what we had to because it was right for us. If no one else ever followed, it would have been just as right.”

So ask yourself…What is your forest? How can you bring your world back to life? Begin today, one acorn at a time.

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