This year, we are taking a look at our hometown. We are planning adventures far and wide (within parameter) of the wondrous and disastrous Winnipeg has to offer. We want to know more of our heritage here, and what it means to be a pegger.
This week, we surveyed the oldest tree in Winnipeg. After much research and deliberation, we googled what we believed to be the oldest tree in Winnipeg. With hats and toques on, we traveled out in search of the illustrious large tree – boasted to be 17 feet around. We traveled far and wide to Point Douglas, and after making a quick left after Louise Bridge, we entered the Twilight Zone. We crossed a downed traffic barrier; we headed down an icy and fun filled path to the river. I knew the tree was to be massive, and as we made our way down to the river, wondering if I was going to be able to drive backwards up the rutted path in our Little ‘93 Trecel, we seen the tree. It was massive. I was blown away. Now, Coralee says that it is nothing like the Giant Redwood trees she grew up with, but to my Alberta boy eyes, used to spruce and birch, this was massive. I hugged the tree. Abby hugged the tree. I held her, she laughed.
It was beautiful, till I fell and hurt my sternum (the picture above is in the midst of falling). Then, getting up and laughing, we started our victorious picture memorabilia. We thought this was a conquered beast. It wasn’t. As I contemplated later, I looked at the pictures of us standing proudly beside the beast, and wondered, “That tree is not 17 feet around”. Shoot – missed the mark. Well, in disappointment, I tried to get the adventure going again.
The very next day we loaded up the car with potato skins, pickled wieners, crossword puzzles, Spiderman comics, and mama’s homemade rhubarb pie. We were ready for our 3-minute journey. Oh yeah, we remembered the kids too. Then we had to unload the other stuff to make room for us all to fit. Just kidding. Point Douglas is where we headed off to again. This time, Coralee my logistically masterful wife in all her blog wonder powers, found a place that showed the exact location. I got out the Google maps,
she prepared the kids. I sighted my exact path, route of escape, and all landmarks for guides (after all it was 3 minutes from home). We were off.
As we lumbered up Stephens, heading north towards Rover Ave., there it was. WOW!! I could not believe it. Again to Coralee, this is not as big as the Redwoods she grew up with, but to this prairie boy, I was amazed. This was stupendous. As we approached, I couldn’t stop staring. This was indeed a massive tree, equipped with it’s own park and bench. We found a place to park, and took some pictures.
This one is a good one of us celebrating.
This one is of Malachi to give spacial relation on the thinner side of the tree.
Now, as I looked at this tree, I wondered – 200 years, what stories could this tree tell. This tree would have seen the native traders coming down to worship the gods they served at the forks. This tree would have been a sapling as the first settlers came into view and heard children playing and dressing it in its new Christmas garb. This tree outlasted every flood. The 1826 flood of entire southern Manitoba; the 1950 flood; the 1997 flood; and this year, it will survive our 2011 flood as well. This tree was refuge to generations from the heat in the summer, and a spectacle of wonder as its branches were laden with frost in the winter. Spring would see it dancing with the birds, and fall brightly lit for its gala performance as it danced with the other trees in their brightest fall colors. It was wonderful to see, and a blessing as I looked up.
There are 3 strong trunks; each could be their own tree in size, and as I looked up at the 70 foot ceiling of this giant cottonwood, and seen a representation of promise for Winnipeg. Even though there are troubling times coming, and certainly ones that could spell ruin for many, this tree held a truth built right into it. 3 trunks came up, and there are 3 members of our blessed Trinitarian Lord. There was a promise in this tree – Build your house on the rock, and nothing will topple you, but build your house on the sand, and you will have a might crash. Indeed when the winds blow and the floodwaters rise and beat against the house, nothing built on the sand will survive. This tree was a promise to me, because with its Trinitarian reminder, there was a tree rooted in deep foundation. Deep and sure, and they never failed. We have the promise to have our foundation rooted deep and sure as well, if we will trust in Jesus. My prayer is that as the storms come in this year and years a head, we will root ourselves in Jesus. When troubles come, we will stand firm with our Trinitarian God standing with us, reminding us that we have done well – my good and faithful servants.
We drove away, mission accomplished, and musing about what other amazing stories God is going to speak to us about as we adventure through the sights, sounds and mysteries of Winnipeg.