The Tree

There’s a tree in the neighbors yard that I watch. Every morning as soon as I open my eyes, my gaze wanders to that tree. There’s nothing special about this tree. It could almost be considered a nuisance the way its branches dance over the fence and deposit crumbling leaves in our yard every fall. I don’t even know what kind of tree it is other than hopeful in spring, green in summer, brilliant in fall, and bare when the snow flies. But still I love this tree, this normal boring tree, maybe all the more for its normalcy–its stability. No matter how clenched my jaw is, no matter what fights rage inside my head, no matter what what new loss I mourn, that tree still stands and does exactly what it is supposed to do.

Right now it whips about in the encroaching storm, dark and muted against a tumble of swirling grey clouds. Yesterday it flamed, glowing from the golden sunrise, the rosy purple clouds draped behind it bringing out the deepest greens of the leaves. Now the storm is here and the rain-blurred tree bends further and further, now in view, now tossed out of sight, rocking back and forth and I marvel that the branches don’t snap off. They look so fragile.

I wonder how long this ordinary tree will last. I wonder how deep its roots run, if the Japanese beetles will return this year and pick at its leaves until all that’s left is a beautifully destroyed lace of dead leaves.

(written in summer 2020)

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