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Our hike up the Ingersol Mine trail near Keystone in the South Dakota Black Hills this morning was strewn with schist, quartzite and mica. A couple in our family party of twenty-something found some rocks studded with garnet crystals.

I thought of how my father-in-law would have been in heaven on this hike. Having grown up in Montana, he loved the outdoors, especially the mountains. And, as a geologist, he could have given us a scientific lecture on every rock we saw.

It occurred to me that today is the tenth anniversary of his passing.

As I reflected on today’s Gospel reading, Mt 7:15-20, about the good and rotten trees and the fruit they bear, I couldn’t help but think that Gene was a good tree who bore good fruit. I married his eldest daughter and I like to think that because of her, we have also borne good fruit. And that fruit even better fruit still.

“Gene, we miss you, but I have a feeling you were watching us this morning, pleased that your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are carrying on their love for each other at this family reunion, as well as your love for the outdoors. Thank you for the gifts of good fruit which you passed on. Rest in Peace, Papa!”

(Good Tree, Good Fruit was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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