A heartfelt farewell took place today as the Fellowship gathered to say bid adieu to some of our beloved trees which have graced the grounds for generations. The three solo piano works played were selected for their messages of gratitude, closure, and acceptance.
Today’s prelude was Ombra Mai Fu, a well-loved classic from Handel’s opera Serse. Serse, the king of Persia, sings this aria at the opera’s beginning to express his thanks and admiration for a plane tree and the shade it provides. Our feelings for the UUFC trees are mirrored in this aria’s lyrics:
Tender and beautiful fronds
of my beloved plane tree,
let Fate smile upon you.
May thunder, lightning, and storms
never disturb your dear peace,
nor may you by blowing winds be profaned.
Never was a shade
of any plant
dearer and more lovely,
or more sweet.
The anthem “Time to Say Goodbye” seemed appropriate for an offertory following the honoring of the trees. This powerful anthem, made famous by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, encourages us to embrace life’s inevitable changes with courage and grace. With tomorrow’s cutting of the trees, this work is also a gentle reminder that while farewells can be bittersweet, they also pave the way for new beginnings.
As the service drew to a close, we adjourned to the timeless tune of “Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Byrds. This adaptation of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 beautifully illustrates life’s ever-changing rhythms, urging us to find peace and acceptance in the ebb and flow of existence. The song’s poetic verses remind us that there is “a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to gain, a time to lose.” We have celebrated and said goodbye to the trees…let us now celebrate the new birth of plants, flowers, and trees that will begin their time with us.
~ Lauren Servias