Are you able to discern this variety of tree simply by its bark? Could it be a sweet gum? There are certainly a number of sweet gum pods, or the fruit, about the ground nearby. Why are you uncertain? Are you not familiar with trees? Can you more readily recognize them by their blooms or leaves? is the photo simply too close? The closer we study something the more difficult it may be genuinely to see it.
Is it a beautiful tree? Perhaps. It is hard to tell now. I am merely examining one small part of it. It is nearly impossible to see your hand half an inch from your face. As I cannot even remember if this really is a sweet gum, I cannot be sure. I know it is not a beech, which has a smoother bark. What I do know is that if I were to take a few paces back I would see a thing of fractal beauty, an example of a social yet stationary giant.
This is how my son appears to me, day after day. Rough. Bumpy. Craggy. Too close. There are too many petty fights, too much time spent on incidental worries, and certainly not as many moments appreciating where he is now. When I look exclusively at the details, become hyper-focused on the minutiae in the necessities of the day to day, it becomes increasingly difficult to see him as he truly is now, in all of his beauty. I need to step back a few paces every once in a while, smile at him and take in all of him at this stage – bark, leaves, limbs, branches, shaggy hair…..
…Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the LORD…