So I’m walking my neighborhood the other day and I came across this tree brought down by the latest storm. I briefly glanced at it since part of the trunk was in my path and I had to walk around it. I walked on but not even 10ft later, I stopped in my tracks and some instinct propelled me to turn around & go back to look again at that fallen tree. So I was standing there looking at the broken tree, contemplating how just the day before on my same walk through the neighborhood, the tree was standing there all strong and…. Ya know, ‘tree-looking’… with no indication of any weaknesses that would take it down with 40mph/hr wind gusts less than 24hrs later. I had all kinds of (philosophical) thoughts I tell you, in those few minutes of staring at the tree.
I took a couple pictures of all the tree rot and looked again. This time I was drawn to the traces of life staring at me right smack in the middle of all that rot and brokenness. Sticking out were little green branches very much still full of life. I wanted to save those branches. I wanted to give them a chance to grow big and tall and full just like the MotherTree. I wanted them to live up to their potential of being a tree and carrying on their DNA and fulfilling their purpose (do trees have DNA?).
In all my reflection, as I inspected the tree, I missed the Owner inspecting me from a corner of his garden. He slowly came over and – puzzled - asked if he could help me. I told him thanks but no, was just inspecting the tree. He apologized that it was in my way and hoped I hadn’t hurt myself tripping over the fallen branches. (I think he was worried I was taking pictures and was gonna report him to the City or sue him for whatever). I assured him I had no such intention and explained to him how I walk that sidewalk daily and had taken the tree for granted and I was so sorry he lost it in the storm because I love trees and had no idea it was that weak. I told him about the crows, blue jays and mockingbirds I saw in the tree every time I walked by, stealing ripe loquats from the adjoining tree & sitting on its upper branches to enjoy the fruit. I told him about the loquats I too stole on my walk, and how sweet they were. I explained to him that I was probably a weird One but I could see the lesson in the tree rot, the damage, the beauty and symbolism of the Circle of the Life of the tree. I could see its potential and was sorry it was now gone just in 1 random freak Florida winter storm. He understood and in true form, sighed “Ain’t that just life for ya! One minute you’re a tree and next minute you’re firewood. We all gotta go at some time! Can’t negotiate your way outta that one!” Oh well, no arguments from me here. We philosophized a little longer then I was on my way, thanking the tree for its life and for the memories and silently doing prayer for its gentle release.
“All things are subject to decay, and when Fate summons, Monarchs must obey”.
In good health,
Dr. Audrey Steele