When I moved to Oregon thirty years ago, I'd never heard of a "nurse tree." At first I mistakenly called "nurse logs" by the name. The photo above is a nurse log. (A nurse tree is a larger tree that shelters smaller trees from elements)
I was driving to the coast last week and saw a number of nurse logs (I like "nurse stump" myself. I tend to be a bit literal) and realized all those years ago when I first encountered them, I had fallen in love with the depth of compassion they represent. When I myself became pregnant a few years later, I could relate the sacrifices a woman's body makes to nurture a fetus then an infant, then a child to the unconditional compassion these nurses of the forest provide seeds, then sprouts then saplings.
Compassion is all around. On the same trip to the beach, as I contemplated the nurse logs, A man emerged from the brush nearby with a florescent vest and garbage bag. His truck was nice but plain. No name of any ditch-cleaning company. The man appeared to simply be alongside the road, cleaning up garbage. Tending to the beauty of the path taken by hundreds of people daily and thousands on weekends. Stewards of the earth exemplify compassion too.
May that man, may those trees, those logs and stumps, feel the blessings of the beauty they create. And may their sacrifices be returned to them in multiples.