“Come healing of the spirit; come healing of the limb.”
I missed welcoming you to the weekend last Friday—and it was a long weekend! Easter weekend! There are times when there is nothing more to give, and it was one of those, but I thought of you—with longing, with the warmest wishes for your holidays, looking forward to today. Earlier last week, I went for a few miles of an exploratory walk, specifically to find and listen to trees along the trails near our home that could teach me more about sturdiness and resilience, how trunks might support limbs; how limbs extend among constraints; how the heart survives its losses. The weather couldn’t have been more supportive of my seeking, with sunshine and breeze and just enough heat, and the trees themselves—as much as I think of myself as always witnessing them—astonished me with the variety and imagination of their responses to the individuality of their genus and species, their soil depths and textures, their positioning relative to bedrock and water, their solitude or community, their vulnerability or not (often based on a combination of all the other factors) to our area’s destructive ice storm in early February after a drought since 2008. Some stood with the fallen at their feet; some were sufficiently sheltered and strong to have shaken off the latest challenge—just one among their centuries of seasons. I returned with a small album of portraits of these wrinkled, gnarled, beautiful neighbors of mine. I can’t say that they’re smiling at me—if we could define or understand that, for a tree—but I definitely sense their encouragement to keep turning ephemera into deeply rooted persistence.