While shoveling my front walk this weekend, the two huggable-sized trees on my front lawn beckoned me to wander closer. As I did, I noticed that they appeared to be disrobing – shedding bark from their trunks all the way up through and into their branches. As someone who gets chilled easily, I wondered why anyone (or anything, for that matter) would disrobe while outside in the elements during winter weather extremes. After all, even in nature, coats play a significant role when temperatures plummet and winds whip up.
For close to 15 years, these trees have adorned and held a prominent place on my front lawn. I have cared for – nourished, protected, pruned…even hugged – them as I would a pet or child. And, although they’ve always tended to respond in a bit of an unconventional or temperamental way – blooming and switching leaf color and shedding leaves long after others have done so – they’ve never attempted to abandon their protective coats in this way. As I reflected on the great Horticultural Resources at the University extension office just north of us, I nestled into feeling a bit more comfortable knowing an arborist who knew local tree behavior was not far away…and might be able to offer an explanation to help put my heart (and tears) to rest.
This, of course, did not stop me from thinking about and reflecting on the important – and critical – role trees have always played in my life. Besides offering a window into nature, they appear to unknowingly provide a perspective that often helps me sort out certain aspects of life.
- On the surface, trees appear disengaged and unaffected. Birds seek their shelter as birthing centers; squirrels use them as playgrounds – scampering up, down and around their trunks and branches; rain saturates their tentacles, snow embraces them with a soft, but frigid blanket; winds jostle them around. Yet, despite (and through) all of this, they continue (mostly) to stand erect and offer support.
- Trees appear to form few attachments. Birds come and go, snow and ice dump and disappear (or become absorbed). Yet, without holding on or seeking a state of permanency or reward, they constantly offer a sturdy, stable environment for nature’s elements and those in need…and they perform this role with grace and a demeanor of pride.
- They continually reach for the sky and ask little of us. Regardless of the weather – blue sky, rain, wind…even snow – they silently seek out what they need to keep moving forward with their lives. Despite looming perils, they reach out – for the sky, for the warmth, for the sprinkling – to achieve their goal – to keep growing so they can continue to offer their support in what can often seem like a perilous world.
While trees play such a critical role in our lives – shade, fruit, shelter, perspective – they often go unnoticed and unappreciated. It’s only when one makes time to walk, wander, and awaken oneself to observe all that surrounds them that they truly live.
As we bathe ourselves in Holiday Season pleasures, may we each be blessed with perspective and the awareness of the many magical elements that surround us – be they in nature or within ourselves or each other.
Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock