I cried today.
That might not seem earth-shattering to you because people cry all the time, but you see, I have not cried since 2018, literally.
What was the horrific event that split my heart open you ask? Was it a broken heart from a lost love, or the deep pain of betrayal?
No, it wasn’t.
They are coming to cut down my tree tomorrow.
They tell me it’s sick.
I’m not sure about that but I guess it’s true.
I have so many feelings going through me that I’m trying to make sense of.
I know it’s not the prettiest tree, but to me, it's the most beautiful thing. It’s so much more than “just a tree”. It’s a friend.
As I look out at it now from my window, I try to imagine the empty space that will be left when it’s gone. What will that feel like?
I have such a deep ache in my chest. Does it know what lies in its future? Is it aware they are coming tomorrow? Would he forgive me for not fighting more for him?
Is he aware of how thankful I am for the many years that I have loved him and how thankful I am for all the comfort he has provided?
I’m thankful for the shade he has provided me as I work in the garden. I find shelter from the heat beneath his branches as the sun moves around the sky, I move too. It's a sort of dance the three of us do together.
I’m thankful for the many hours when I have laid on a blanket on the ground and watched all the critters cohabitate in his branches through the years. The raccoons, squirrels, birds, and so many more that I don’t see, a sort of community condominium.
I feel like I am a part of that community. I belong.
I am thankful for the years I felt loved and held by his roots underground as they cradle me, and provide an anchor of wholeness for me.
I am thankful for his leaves that fill my compost piles. These leaves create the most beautiful, rich soil for my garden beds that grow food for my family.
I am thankful for the countless hours I looked up at him from my hammock, as the sun was setting.
breathing in and breathing out,
in sync with the gentle sway of his leaves.
Then finding just the right calming rhythm while watching the sun set down and give way to the night sky. All the stars step out from their dark slumber to be seen and shine as I gently fall asleep.
When I look up, I think, he’s so big and old and gentle and I imagine wise. How can I learn to be ok without him?
I close my eyes and we breathe together one last time. I recall all the times we did this exercise together, and all the oxygen and carbon dioxide we exchanged. I guess one could say he’s a part of me and I him. That won’t go away.
I plan to use some of his trunks to make a bench to sit on and put in my garden beds once again. I guess one might say it's my own “Giving Tree” story.
As the bark decays, rich soil will be created. That process will last many years.
I realize, eventually I will be thankful for all the sun that will flood the garden when he is gone providing more light, and more growth, in my garden and in my heart.
But now I’m just sad.
And I think that’s ok.
They are coming to cut down my tree tomorrow and it hurts. So I guess I’ll cry and offer my tears to his roots. A small gesture for all I have received.
It’s “just a tree,” you say?
To me, it was a deep, long-lasting love affair that I will carry in my heart always.
I guess that’s how we live on forever when we are gone,
in the heart of someone who loves us.
Even if it's “just a tree”.