I decided to wash the dishes and I looked out my kitchen window to see helicopter seeds floating down from the gray sky. Despite the dreariness of the day that brought me momentary joy and smile to my tired face.
My eyes moved to the old tree in our backyard and my moment of joy settled like those seeds drifting across my yard. Dry and blackened in spots, a husk of tree hulks over my house and I am scared that we are one storm away from the upper level being destroyed, our children hurt. Some thirty feet it stands leafless and nearly lifeless, it's bark having fallen off in places. I am truly saddened to see what has become of our beloved shade tree.
I wistfully think about my kids as little ones, this house being the only home they have ever known... tripping over the damned roots of that tree. Despite the bumps and bruises and the momentary tears we have all enjoyed the shade, the sweet rustling of it's tender leaves on warming spring days, and eventually the solace it gave us from the exhausting heat of humid Iowa summers. It was almost as if it knew it had to hang on to get my girls through the early years, providing a haven from light rain and brief rain showers, it's branches hanging over part of their swing set and the rain bouncing from one leaf to another but never really hitting them.
Our tree will be cut down within the next week, and Jacob will never know all of those little things my daughters experienced as little ones. All those things we tend to take for granted that, the seemingly minute details that will one day make their childhood stories somehow more real and tangible. Fond memories from tiny scars...Sweetness for the most bitter of days.
We have known for several years our tree would be cut down and I have wondered how we will ever do without it's shade. Sections of the tree died over the years and we ignored how ugly those branches were, we chose to enjoy what it had left to give us.
I think about how I will miss those approving whispers that graced my ears as I closed my eyes for a moment, my nose raised to catch the green scents that swirled around me. I will miss almost hearing "This... this... this...", the wind tangling and untangling the leaves to cry out in unison as if warning me that I should appreciate this moment. Here, Now; whispers that were muffled by screeches and giggly laughter, the creaking of the swing set and endless requests for food and drink.
But cutting away this dead tree will allow your windows to let in much more light, cheering you despite the summer heat - I think, the repetition of washing dishes almost soothing me. It's wood will warm you in the winter, crackling in the glow of your fireplace... anointing your aching bones. Pretty things will now grow in the places where shadows once were. All things fade, allowing for new life in it's place.
There is so much to be taken from this moment. It speaks to spirituality, to providing a safe haven for my children, life and death and the seeming finality. It spoke to me deeply about my body feeling as if it were failing me, about being so strong yet so fragile.
I'm choosing to ignore the gnarled-ness that my joints feel, the blackened spots on my heart and soul. I still have plenty of shade to give, solace to offer. I'm going to continue to produce gentle whispers of approval, soft reminders to my children to appreciate This. Here. Now... Only I will tuck my roots in as much as possible, I will not trip them up or alter their course from shade to light.