Nevertheless, there they stand, unfazed and faithful trees. Tall and strong. Short and wide. Ignorant of me and far too easily ignored by me. Especially now that Christmas season is upon us and so many trees here in Charlotte are being subjected to the decorative whims of so many light-seeking southerners, I am yet again reminded that trees are truly magnificent creatures, whether real or fake, well-lit or shadowy, height-endowed or height-deprived.
Kinda like people, aren't they?
Some are tall and majestic.
Some unmovable and sturdy.
Others are short and wide.
Others weak and easily shaken.
Some are lit from within, while others seem hellbent on putting every one else's lights out.
Whether we want to believe it or not, unlike the tree in my living room, we are all real -
real happy and sad, fulfilled and empty, at peace and at war,
strong and weak, brave and fear-filled, often all one and the same time.
Unfortunately, many of us live as though falsifying ourselves,
covering our faults and denying our fears,
disallowing our needs and disavowing our longings,
applying a lot of make-up and cover up,
closing ourselves in and shutting our loved ones out
will eventually convince others (and ourselves) that
we really are perfectly okay, no need for assistance or attention, thank you very much.
That's when I turn back to the trees and look at them in awe and wonder.
There they stand - in scorching heat and stinging cold, in drenching rain and unrelenting drought.
Their bark peels, their leaves fall, and their roots go down deep.
They welcome all climbers and fliers and crawlers and nesters.
They offer themselves as home and hiding place, shade and shelter.
They join together and branch out.
Sure, they succumb to storms and insect invasions.
Caterpillars, small and slow, make sawdust out of them.
Somehow, though, most trees manage to live long and leafy lives.
Standing perfectly, contentedly, determinately still.
There's a lesson in those boughs and branches somewhere, I'm sure of it.