It was a willow tree that has seen much, borne much. Her sturdy frame, and cascading branches glorious, with whimsical leaves dripping to the earth were something to behold.
A few years back, during a heavy snow in Early October, she was wounded, and because of that, a large branch split off of her. As we surveyed her broken limb, my Mother gave instruction that we should bind up her wound with paint, we should seal it, to see if she would mend.
We did this….. I found some terra cotta slightly brown paint, and we lavishly brushed it on her injured self. She appeared a little lopsided and obvious for quite a few years.
This year I noticed how full and glorious she looked. She looked balanced. It was as if all of her former glory, and then some, had returned.
When I looked upon her from my back deck, enjoying the fullness of her, I could no longer not even see the road behind her.
It was as if she was stretching her many arms to the sky in happy release and splendour…unaware of what was to come.
Much to my complete surprise this morning, I awoke, and stepped onto my dewy deck to survey the yard as I often do, waiting for my coffee to brew.
As I gazed out back, I was in shock….there she was, my glorious mended willow split exactly in two…. It was Independence Day yesterday, and she had somehow split her lovely self in two on July 4th.
There must have been a mighty cracking in sound as she broke herself, but I am supposing that we were unaware as to her plight because of all the fireworks blowing up continually in the night.
She had suffered perhaps a life ending break, and nobody noticed.. We were caught unawares.
I am still in shock, truly. I can say that I honestly did not see this coming, and am sitting in this moment sipping my rich coffee, breathing in the cool morning air, the sound of sprinklers going off….and a sense of wonder surrounds me.
As I approproached her gingerly, my flip flopped feet getting moist with the freshly watered lawn, my jaw just dropped.
I had always just been amazed at how she seemed to have fully recovered from her post snow broken state, and that inside she must be thriving and healthy, because how else did she grow back so full and fine?
When I looked inside, it was as if I was catching a glimpse into her soul. She was dry, she had some sort of ugly brown, fuzzy fungus living inside her. I gently touched her openness, and found that she was rotten on the inside.
How had this fungus, this cancer come in? I did not know. I wondered if it was when the cold winter snow surprised her, and broke her branches that she had become infected?
I felt sad….I felt wounded. How did I not know, was unaware of her suffering, her plight? I had been blinded by her brilliant, shade giving loveliness. She was green, and full of pride in herself. She was doing what she was designed to do.
She was giving life, providing oxygen for me and my family.
Looking at her now, her side that is still standing reaches towards the sun, hoping for new light, to warm her. She sways gently in the breeze, and birds knowing that this is the side to perch in, do so.
There is life in the side that is still standing, there is hope, there is purpose. The other side is a fallen soldier, and she lays still upon the earth…never to stand again. This part is gone, detached…empty.
In time, we will need to carve up her branches, using the chain saw to dismember her remains. This wood will be used in our outdoor fire pit to bring warmth, bring comfort, in the coming months.
It will be a while before she can be burned, as she will need to properly dry, before she can be ignited, and return her ashes again to the earth.
Her scent when she burns will be enjoyed, will be reveled in. We will sit around her, and will be thankful that she lived, and that she gave her all.
We will rejoice that she gave, she tried, she did not give up. We will remember with awe, that she chose to hide her flaws, her hurts.
It burdens me that I did not know how sickly she was….I neglected her. I did not know of her disease. She hid herself well. She nestled in , and shaded the playground, singlemindedly. She was pure in her purpose.
“I was blind…but now I see.”…… From Amazing Grace.
Maybe this shall be her name….Grace. She was that, and she was amazing.
” See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19
I just don’t believe that things happen by chance, I cannot. I have far too much evidence to the contrary that I cannot ignore, even if I wanted to.
Maybe I’m stuck on this tree falling on my life too much? Maybe I’m seeing some symbolism to my life, reading too much into something? Maybe this wasn’t for me?
Are you even kidding? Of course this means something. There was no electrical storm last night, there was no sudden burst of lightening that gave her such a gash…..no, she cracked in half, from the inside. It was her time. She gave her all, and now we shall clean up the remnants, paint her spear pierced side, and hope that she can move on…..to repair herself again.
Today I choose… I do choose to see the miracles in everything, rather than the randomness of life, and that it all means nothing. I want to live life with my eyes open…I don’t want to miss the meaning in the things, the people, the life circumstances that I encounter.
I don’t want to live fearfully, waiting “for the next shoe to drop.” I want to live a life with purpose, with substance. Life means something. It is good, but it is bloody hard, often painful, and it can take you out many many times.
This tree which has been a safe haven to many a squirrel, and families of birds nesting, has fallen, and I noticed. My beagles will notice…maybe…They may try to climb her wounded side if a squirrel decides to take refuge there, one never knows. Oh my..look out little squirrel if this happens, because my beagles are tenacious, and single minded in their goal of having you for lunch!
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
It is with great reference that I acknowledge the friends and family who walk beside me….”walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller
I am overcome in this moment of the beauty that surrounds me. The lushness of the summer foliage, the scent of floral blooms in the air. The sky is scattered with cotton clouds, light and fluffy..
“It’s wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears.”