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Trees, Coming Alive

Keep your eyes open if you are anywhere near northern Arkansas. Buds are sprouting, breaking free from a dark winter.

Trees and buds must be brave. Breaking open—sounds painful, sacrificial, beautiful. And beauty is always fragile. I guess things have to break apart, in order for better things to come.

Things are waking up and coming alive. Here, willows are putting out a little restless green.

Gingko, dogwood, cottonwood, sweet gum, tulip tree, sugar maple. We are surrounded by them. And I am drawn to them. They woo me.

I love trees, but it’s a miracle we have any trees in the yard. My husband once said, “They make it hard to mow.” In time, he gave in to trees and me. It may have cost me an extra piece of pecan pie.

Little act of large love.

Today I take my camera and peruse my yard and then the neighbors’ yards. It’s true. It’s true! Leaves are beginning to unfurl.

It’s a sign of new life.

Things die back in the winter. I rarely marvel at a wintry tree, maybe at an eagle sitting atop a tree, but not the tree itself.

However, branching boughs of a winter tree do carry a certain beauty of their own. I just don’t slow down for them in the winter. There’s no waving leaves or boughs for me to wave to. No green. No blooms. No shaped leaves.

But when it’s spring and the air is warmer, it’s like the trees grow thousands of hands!

And how they wave and speak to the heart!

Surely there are secrets to be told by birds sitting in those trees.

It’s spring! Every tree, bird, leaf has its own secret life, its own quiet questions, its own love.

So much in the small things.

Last evening, it rained. You could smell the rain coming, and later, after the rain had moved east, it was a mix of musk and old leaves.

During the winter, I forget how familiar smells can be.

My focus right now is on the new shoots on trees. They are determined and poking through, then breaking open.

This may be my favorite season to listen to the birds. They come and sing like they are offering a prelude to what’s coming. And maybe that’s what they are doing. Birds know. They know sunshine and clean, cerulean skies, they know sailing clouds and more, a promise of more rain.

If more comes, I might just sit and read poems from Devotions by Mary Oliver. I am reading them slowly, sipping slowly.

Robins, all over the yard—small comings and goings, eyes on the ground. They ignore the feeders hanging from a maple. They want wiggly worms straight from the ground.

I’m blessed to sit and watch the world stir a while. If I wait, there’ll be a surprise. Always, a surprise. And sometimes, it changes how I breathe.

Maybe I’m at the edge of a new leaf myself. I’m most aware of it when I ask God, “What do You want from me?”

It’s like suddenly I realize half of the maple tree is underground. Important. The roots steady the tree. Aboveground, I see leaves and branches reaching for light.

I must do the same. Rely on God to steady me and keep reaching for the Light. The tree—my teacher.

My camera is on the counter. I pick it up and look back at the photos of the Yoshino cherry tree growing in a neighbor’s yard.

God bless,

Pat Durmon

P.S. Thank you, my friends, for your shares and comments.

Yoshino cherry tree. Photographed in a neighbor’s yard in Norfork, Arkansas, by Pat Durmon, March 27, 2019.

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