Behind the Photo Fridays / Photography

The Dancing Birch

The Dancing Birch

Our mission wasn’t a very exciting one, in fact, it was a little sad. My dad and I were on the way to pick up a copy of my grandpa’s death certificate. He passed away several years ago, but my 92-year-old grandma was going through an audit and needed the copy to add to the mountain of paperwork we were collecting. (By they way, who audits a 92-year-old?!)

Because we had to request the death certificate from the courthouse in the county seat of the county he passed away in we decided to take a mini-road trip adventure. Our destination was only about 40 minutes away, but we traveled along pretty back roads and enjoyed the rural fall scenery.

Of course I had my camera along, but your camera doesn’t do you any good unless you take the time to stop the car along the way. Dad told me to let him know if I wanted to stop anywhere. That was all well and good except I don’t usually know I want to stop until it’s too late. Blame it on the chronic illness brain fog if you want, but the things I see sometimes sink into my brain pretty slowly and before I know it, I’ve missed it!

Such was the case on this beautiful fall day. We were driving along at a good clip, going around a particularly curvy part of the road. As we neared the next curve I saw a bright spot of red and a streak of white. The scene practically jumped into the car and slapped me across the face, but I didn’t say a word. Dad kept driving and I tried to process what I had seen.

We made it to the courthouse, which was beautiful, by the way, and were able to wait for the paperwork we needed. On the way home I was determined to stop and get a picture of the tree, or trees, that had captured my attention.

As my friends and family will attest to, I have a habit of suddenly yelling at them. Because it can take me so long to register pretty things, once I do, I get excited and, well, shout. (Ask my friend Erin how I scared her when I saw the mountains for the first time on my recent trip to North Carolina. I was just a little excited, that’s all!)

So we’re driving home and I have my face plastered to the window and my eyes properly peeled. Wracking my brain trying to remember where I had seen the trees, I had just about convinced myself that I had missed them when I spotted them.

“STOP!” I shouted. We were on a corner of a busy stretch of road, but dad started to slow down.

“Here?” He asked.

“Yes! Stop, stop, stop, right here!” I said while trying to simultaneously open my window and get the lens cap off of my camera.

I couldn’t believe my luck. This was going to be a great picture! I held my camera up to my face and asked dad to pull forward just a little.

“Just a little more… a little more… perfect! Stop!”

Dad got a phone call and while he talked I snapped away. I finally had the perfect angle as the birch tree was directly in front of the maple tree. The stark white bark of the birch stood in elegant contrast to the bright red leaves of the full maple. The gentle curve of the graceful birch reminded me of a dancer adorned in a beautiful red dress, flowing out as she twirled and ended the dance with a curtsy.

When I look at this picture I can just imagine God allowing these two trees to grow exactly where they are. The birch tree probably came first, growing up nice and tall. God sent the sun for it to reach for and the strong winds to create the graceful bend. Birch trees are beautiful, sure, but God knew I’d be driving down this road one day and so He sent a pair of maple seeds flying with the wind under their little one inch wings. Maybe they blew around for hours before landing right behind the growing birch tree. He gave the seeds rain and sun and good soil so they would grow tall and wide, providing the perfect fall backdrop for the elegant birch. (Why, yes, I do have a vivid imagination, why do you ask?!)

Seriously though, I love nature. I love God’s glorious creations. I love how a tree is more than just a tree. It’s a symbol of God’s creativity, glory, love, and care. When I see something cool like this in nature I’m certain that God made it just for me. And why not? He loves to give good gifts to His children!

I’d love to hear what good gifts God has given you recently, or what cool things you have seen in nature. Drop me a note in the comments!

And that, my friends, is how I captured The Dancing Birch. (Click to Tweet.)

Until next time,


About Author

I'm the author of "Howie's Broken Hee-Haw," a photographer, and lover of all things adventurous. I'll walk alongside you and help you discover joy for your journey and freedom in Christ!


  • Patty Nicholas
    June 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Oh, how I love the thought of God blowing the seeds of those trees around until they landed in the right spot to grow , so that on that day He could bless you!
    Beautiful picture too!!

  • beckielindsey
    June 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Gorgeous! I love living vicariously through your photos and stories, Josie. I live in the High Desert in sunny California, so I’m not familiar with this tree.

    • Josie Siler
      June 26, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks Beckie. I love both trees. I’m lucky enough to have a huge birch tree in my front yard! I live in a gorgeous part of the country, but I do have to say I love the wildness of the desert too. There’s beauty to be found everywhere!

  • Heather Bock
    June 26, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    What an absolutely beautiful picture! It really looks like one picture–a really unique looking tree with black shadowing white bark, when it’s actually two blended together. So nice! I love God’s creation so much.

    • Josie Siler
      June 26, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks Heather! It’s one of my favorites! God’s creations are so unique and beautiful.

  • Dawn M Owens
    June 26, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    I too love to get excited over God’s creation. I have been known to go into full-on celebration mode when citing a beautiful sunset. I believe He enjoys us delighting in Him as He delights in us.

    • Josie Siler
      June 26, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      Yay! I think He delights in our celebrations, even if we scare our friends and family!

  • Joshua J Masters
    June 27, 2017 at 7:31 am

    I really love the line, “…I had my camera along, but your camera doesn’t do you any good unless you take the time to stop the car along the way.” That’s great insight. Thanks for this post.

  • Carole Sparks
    July 4, 2017 at 9:32 am

    My recent good gift? It’s also a tree. There’s an apple tree in our new front yard! We didn’t notice it until after we bought the house. I can’t wait to see what kind of apples those hard, green nubs become in a month or so!

    • Josie Siler
      July 4, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Carole, that’s so exciting! Apple trees not only produce tasty fruit, they’re so pretty too. I’m excited with you!

  • Leigh Powers
    July 4, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Beautiful picture, and I love hearing the story behind it! Grateful for God’s little gifts to us.

  • Some Towering Beauties | Josie Siler
    September 29, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    […] one of my favorites, and even though it didn’t make the cover of the magazine last year (The Dancing Birch won out), it might just make it this […]


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