As days grow colder, the trees gradually drop the gaudy garlands of leaves masking their true strength and beauty. Even so do we, as adversity’s chilling winds efface the sunshine in our lives, drop our masks, revealing our inner nakedness and humility. Others watching marvel, overwhelmed by our true beauty. As distresses fall, like freezing snow, upon our boughs we become ever more beautiful to the beholding eye. Old dead branches fall away and our inner soul is strengthened.
Oh how profound the lessons we find within a tree,
As gales begin to blow, and surf is raised at sea.
Were their boughs to steadfast stand, unyielding to the end,
They’d all soon break asunder. Instead, they gently bend.
For dancing in the breezes and blowing in the storm,
They may lose leaves or branches, but nothing more’s the norm.
Let’s follow their example, with roots held strong and firm,
In all life’s gales and blusters, the flexible let’s learn.
When life blows up a hurricane, let’s bend before the gale,
And dance, enjoy the toss around, as on the wind we sail.
Shimmering white closes behind us, ahead concealing mist.
Trees hide behind shimmering, soft veils of light, shadowed echoes.
Carols ring out through the silence, mulled wine enhancing vocal chords,
Silenced by Christmas luncheon.
Water skims slowly by ornamented by clusters of ducks, a swan here or there.
All upstaged by the jeweled visitor, surveying us from his perch, streaking of, dazzling in his vest of emerald and midnight blue – a kingfisher dressed for the season.
(Thoughts on a Christmas canal trip with my fellow sailing volunteers.)
(from September 2014)
Leaves rustled in the early morning breeze, the trees seemed to quiver at her approach as if in sympathy. She had to go, come to her special place, the place she felt the comfort of eons.
Sitting beneath the old oak that had sheltered her as a child she let go, face in hands, sobs rending the silent stillness. When she could no longer hold on to her smile, when she felt the pressure build to an unbearable pitch she came here.
John was slowly wasting away and there was nothing they could do to stop it. His giant frame that had once carried her across the threshold was now worn and shriveled like a deceased nut in its skeletal shell, skin stretched over bone in lurid relief, a travesty of her man.
She had to smile for him, had to go on loving till her heart tore in tiny…
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from August 2014
An ancient oak rests among the elms and birches. Its branches gnarled and twisted, the trunk thick and ridged. It’s very old. Children have built a platform where its trunk splits into thick limbs. A boy fashioned rope ladder dangles from a planked room housed with a tiny window. A bucket hangs on knotted rope above a flower bed nestled between roots and garlands of fresh blossoms, and vines hang from its branches. You can tell the children adore the tree and the tree for its part seems to take pleasure in the children and their games.
Long has it stood here! In ages past they used to call it “the wishing tree” and many a wish it heard whispered, long ago. The whisperers are gone now, waiting in the earth, but the tree lives on. It sees the whishes come and go. It alone has seen them manifest upon…
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Days pass like leafed messengers floating on the breeze, quiet, silent, unobtrusive, they fall away revealing the bough on which they grew and growing had their day. The substance within was what nourished them. The rising sap of spring made the crowning leaves of summer, and now… now its autumn and the leaves gently fall carried on the wind.
Sap retreats for it feels the touch of frost in the air, but the branch remains, a limb of sturdy oak it yet defies the blast of winter. The tree stands still and silent in the forest. When the winds come it shall move and sigh forth its sounds in the gale. It shall give shelter, though lost forever it seems is that gentle running current within that dressed it so beguilingly in green foliage.
Once there were many leaves, now but few. Life’s autumn season is one of humility, yet this season reveals, hidden strength, grown by the living sap at work within. The dainty leaves couldn’t stand the frost but this bough can weather winters blast having grown supple in summer storms. It knows, deep within, the sap still resides. Unseen, unheard, it awaits the spring when again it shall burst forth in a flurry of leafed glory and rise up to the heavens to dress the leafy boughs in splendor. The sap has not gone, the tree yet lives. Its boughs now collect beauty of a different sort; more splendid than before as, dressed in white, it patterns the heavens.
It is in winter a tree is best seen, when nothing of vanity remains, just strong, lithe limbs reaching upward in defiance of the weights of earth. It is at this time that its power and beauty are revealed, a sight to stir the senses more than its former gaudy plumage. Winter is the true revealer of the tree.
Do not fear these passing days of leaves that seem to fade before you as they skim and dance in the wind. Without those leaves you can stand fearless in the wind. It passes through your empty branches and finds naught on which to take hold as you sway and dance in its presence, till one day, the sun arises and you feel a tingling deep in your roots. You know what it is, for you felt its coming before, the sap rises.