I was writing, just now. Well, I’m actually righting now, technically. But before now… What I label “sorta like poetry” because truth be told, I’m not a poet. Although I sometimes write in a different style than my blog posts. So I label it “other writings” on my website and just go with it.

I fear committing
there I said what frightens me
a line not just drawn but stepped over
life rooted like a tree

The theme, you’d probably figure out if you read all I wrote above the four lines but am choosing not to post here, was decisions. Or perhaps decisiveness is more accurate. What frightens me and how I need to learn to seek self assurance. Yet when I typed the word “tree”…it hit me.

I started to think of specific trees. Is that odd? Maybe. I am one of those people who lived in one house until I grew up and moved away from home. We had a pine tree in our front yard. It was big and not shaped like a Christmas tree. Although apparently at one point it had been. Previously dwellers in our home had planted a live Christmas tree and it grew. And grew and grew and by the time I was a little girl it was huge. It was the first thing I saw when I looked out my bedroom window facing the street.

We also had a grapefruit tree in our front yard. And an orange tree in back. My dad built a treehouse for my sister and I in the orange tree. No, not super high off the ground as orange trees are not that tall. But I have great memories of it.

Before living in the house I currently live in, my family lived on the south side of Lexington. We had a Japanese maple in our backyard and it was beautiful. A very interesting tree that my daughter liked to climb. She is a lover of trees and has frequently mentioned since beginning college in NYC… “I miss trees.”

I received a magnolia tree as a gift once. And I treasured it as magnolias are one of my favorites. Evergreens though so different than the pine tree I grew up with. I had to leave the magnolia tree behind though, as I did the pine. Roots still there, yet I had to move on.

The tree I often spot as I drive through the Eastland neighborhood, not far from my home. Huge limbs twisting here and there. I always think, “Wow! What a tree,” when I drive past.

A favorite tree of mine in Red River Gorge

If you know me fairly well, you know I like to be outdoors. I like the living and green parts of nature. Hiking. Walking through the arboretum and my neighborhood park. So it’s no surprise I would write a blog entry about trees, I’m guessing.

Yet I’m reminded today, very specifically. Our roots connect us in a very real and tangible way. If there is an issue with a tree’s roots, the entire tree will suffer. If the root system is strong…well you know as well as I do.

A few years ago I printed a section of a Thoreau poem for my son and daughter and gave each of them a copy for Christmas. To me, it described their relationship beautifully, especially related to family circumstances at that exact point and time.

Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
Withstand the winter’s storm,
And spite of wind and tide,
Grow up the meadow’s pride,
For both are strong
Above they barely touch, but undermined
Down to their deepest source,
Admiring you shall find
Their roots are intertwined

Today, as I think ahead to the week which will come, I’m reminded. I won’t give all the details or describe the exact situation. But a celebration of my work will ensue. Those I’m close to that I share roots with. We will listen and reflect on words which are significant.

they may be called oaks of righteousness

I don’t expect you to fully comprehend. I sit here crying. Tears of joy because of hopes accomplished. And tears of sadness due to loss and disappointment and personal dreams unfulfilled. What I wanted for my own children. What I hope for as they are now grown. What I thought we would be but never will be. Yet. Maybe I am living that, just in a different time and place and way. Faces I see almost daily and what I want for them. The other kids I love. Drive around. Hopefully influence in some semblance for good.

Last summer I bought a ring in Brooklyn. On the street from a lady. Cash paid and I put it on my finger because I like symbols. It reminds me of the verse above. Oaks of righteousness. My sister sent me a gift a few months ago. A necklace. Again, the tree.

All the specific trees I mentioned above. Strong and unwavering. There, firmly planted, through the years. Even though…it’s a new day. I ask myself some really hard questions. Often. Questions I know I need to answer. Only I can answer. And I realize today those questions have everything to do with trees. I don’t expect you, dear reader, to fully comprehend that statement…everything to do with trees. But to me, it makes perfect sense. In many different ways. Branches. Growth. Life cycles. Pruning. Seasons. Stability despite storms. Roots intertwined insep’rably.

The poem is Friendship, by Henry David Thoreau. Yeah, he’s the Walden Pond guy.

Oaks of righteousness is a portion of a verse found in Isaiah 61. I’ve written often my thoughts on beauty for ashes, which is a part of the same passage. Verses 1-4, though I’m no scholar, remind me of redemption and renewal. In my opinion, that’s what it’s all about. Everything God is. A circle that always brings us back around. Rebirth. Rebuild. Make it right again.

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