Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My mother understands trees

My mother is a master tree steward. She loves trees. I think she loves me too. I had a hard conversation with her last night- I am coming upon a time of great trepidation and nothing seems certain for me in the coming year. I look forward to it with hesitation and a sense of unknowing and frankly, fear. 

I walk in BYU's Summer term graduation ceremony in a week. I am terrified. It's the beginning of the end of this incubation which I am not ready to leave just yet. I don't know where to go- I have no home but this one.  will not have a job beginning in January (which seems like a long ways away, but really is rather pressing.)

My mom interrupted my tears and told me about trees. She said that it's so tempting to take a sapling that is just starting and plant stakes deep into the ground on its sides and tie it so that it will grow up straight and true.

She went on and told me that those are the trees without substance- without any strength or soul. When trees are growing in the wild, they encounter a barrage of insults and challenges. They don't all make it- and they DEFINITELY aren't all perpendicular to the earth. And as wild trees are growing, the winds and storms that push them around cause tiny deaths within the pulp of the tree- micro fractures in their structure.  

The good news is this: as these micro fractures heal, the tree takes what it has learned from the wind, from the death caused by its incessant pushing, and strengthens itself there. That dead material becomes strong wood that holds the tree against future storms. This old, fractured part moves outward to become a fortress of bark, and new material is allowed to grow within that stern exterior. 

New life flows from the ends of the branches.

These are the trees that are strong. These are the ones with substance and soul- ones who defend themselves against dearth of water and against pestilence. 

My mother understand what it means to be wild- what it means to be grounded. I question her in so many ways and against so many things. I don't know if I know how to trust her, or anyone for that matter. I think I need to learn from the trees and learn again how to trust myself. 

No stakes.


wsb said...

here's to wild trees.

Marge Bjork said...


Christine Armbruster said...

i love this story. and trees. and that last picture! i want to look like that tree.