My brother is typically the one to speak in analogies in a blog - but I had a little moment today and I thought I would share it. All the loose ends of the analogy aren't tied neatly - but perhaps you'll find your own analogy in one of the hanging threads. Or, perhaps, you will just shake your head at someone waxing poetic and making something out of nothing.
As I was walking home from a date with myself (a date that went so well I asked myself to coffee after lunch and a movie) I heard a sound that reminded me of rain hitting the roof of the metal trailer in which I grew up. There was no rain though - and if there had been it would've fallen softly as snow in the sub-freezing temperatures. I was pretty certain that no one was foolish enough to be watering their grass either. I looked around for the root of the sound when I realized I was standing next to it - - a tree - - one planted for landscape decor in someone's front yard still had most of its leaves. They were brown and shriveled - turned inward upon themselves - but they clung to the branches when all the trees around stood with their veiny branches naked. The wind blew through and all the leaves shuddered a bit and rattled against each other in a soft rustle - and not a one flew off.
While I am sure this is not the only tree bearing brown leaves in the middle of winter - it is the one I saw today. I wondered about that tree - filled with foliage months after most of the leaves in the neighborhood had been neatly raked into piles and then stuffed into tall brown bags to be carted away with the other debris. Inches upon inches of snow and ice had fallen on those leaves - and even that weight was not enough to make the limbs release their treasure.
Perhaps in the spring it is an exotic tree. Imported from some country across the sea and it blazes in vibrant color. This knowing-it-is-special gives the tree strength to hold on. Perhaps the owner of the house has fed the roots of the tree with a special fertilizer, tended it with mineral-infused water, carefully trimmed the tree as necessary, all with the purpose of getting the most out of her yard decor. Whatever the reason - this tree is different than the others.
But I wonder what will happen later -- how long will the leaves hang on? Will they still be there - crumpled and brown when the other trees began to bud with green? Will the refuse to relinquish their position - claiming history, experience, seniority - - to the fresh and the young? Or, will the young and strong leaves - filled with the vibrancy of life - simply push the old out of the way when the time comes? Rise up with vitality and insist on claiming their spot?
It is enough to produce a somber self-reflection on how the tree compares to my life. Do I let my old leaves rustle in the wind - stubbornly clinging to old memories of a beautiful bloom long after that time has come to an end? Do I impede new growth by continuing to wave around old, dead things - demanding that someone still listen to me - that someone still notice the dead parts of me. When in reality -- all that death is suppose to do is make room for new life. in order to get to the spring - you have to go through the winter - strip your limbs bare - make them open and vulnerable - - finish the autumn - march on through the winter to the spring. It is a cycle - it is life.