(and i don’t care how sappy this is. f.it.)
I picked up my coffee mug to refill and looked out my kitchen window.
I looked where I have for 4 winters, across the roof of the apartment building next to mine, toward the 4 trees that grow 50 feet over the roof of the building.
I’ve looked to these trees in each of the seasons, the only trees in my landscape to actually shed and rebuild their leaves each year, marking time, creating messages, like the green buds peeping, Spring is coming, or the yellow ones waving, I’ll see you after Winter.
In the Winter of 2012, I asked the trees if I would see them bloom again, uncertain about my mortality and health. In the Spring of 2011, after a horrible season of wintery break-up, I eeped, “Oh,” at the surprise green buds, their note of hope and the healing power of time.
I look at these trees as confirmation of something greater. I watch for their sway to remind me there’s something more than the drama in my life. I wait to see which patch of leaves will begin to flutter first, knowing, eventually, a bundle of them will shimmer, waving happily, omnipresent, and perhaps spread like the wave at a football game, across the face of first one and then all of them. Bundles of green rippling, undulating. Alive.
This morning, I looked out my kitchen window over the roof of the apartment building next to mine to mark the time according to their barren branches. And the trees were gone.
There is one, right now, sliced roughly from most of its solid arms. It has the few speckles of small branches left at the top of what must be a hundred foot tree. Right now, the sun is peeking over the hill to the North, and just the top of the tree is colored with a rust. The small spreckled branches at the top, lit like a burning bush, a shock of ginger hair.
And by this afternoon, I imagine, the last tree will be gone.
In California, time is marked differently. My childhood memories all are time-stamped by the landscape, busty with Spring blossoms, chattery with the sound of fallen leaves.
A friend native to San Francisco told me once when I asked, that yes, indeed, her memories aren’t marked that way. The years and seasons sort of blend.
I love my markers. I love the cycle of it.
I love that I am reminded that there must be a fallow season for there to be a lush one. That retreating and retracting for winter is a normal part of life; that the desolation of a leaf-less tree is only temporary.
These trees marked my time, and offered solace and an anchor to the turning of the earth.
When I looked out this morning, and saw a different desolation, I whispered, “Tree.” Tree, my apology. Tree, my gratitude. Tree, my anger.
Tree. One last standing tree. One last marker of where I am on this earth and lifetime.
Tree. Your upper half lit so brightly now, your bark shimmers like white birch.
Tree. I’m so sorry they did this to you. Tree, I will miss you terribly. Tree, Thank you for being my anchor and my hope for so long.
view from my kitchen table