How many trees have you walked under today? I often ask myself that when I’ve left my building and am walking across campus for a meeting or for lunch. Some days, weather permitting and pending appropriate footwear choice du jour, I will get off the concrete pathways and walk through the grassy Commons on my way to the cafeteria.
In those brief moments that don’t happen often enough I am reminded about authority. There is something about walking beneath the branches of the tall trees with the lacy green branches that gives me a calming sense that Good and trusted authority provides the shade that I need to be under.
Humans struggle with the concept of “being under“ anything or anyone else. There’s that somewhat glorious independent streak in our nature that wants to be above it all. Good authority is a protective, shade-giving entity of sorts where birds will come to nest in its branches. Bunnies will nibble fresh grass beneath its shade, squirrels will frolic and gather what they need.
If I am under good authority there is cause to be thankful, to flourish, and to invite others to that place. If I am that authority there is cause to be ever mindfully aware of the ecosystem that exists beneath my branches and to intentionally throw some shade in the best possible way. Its Sunday and perhaps a lovely day for a walk on the grass that just might take you to a tall tree you can place yourself under to reflect.