Friday, November 6, 2009

Lesson From My Tree

You may know that we haven't lived in this house very long; five years now. We were the third family to move into the development. For the first two years, it looked like the ass side of the moon. Construction stuff everywhere, rocks, boulders, felled trees and dirt in huge piles. So not what you envision of when you think of your dream location.

Eventually it all came together, and now that I look out and see a pretty and lush environment, it seems like magick that it's so different from its raw beginnings. Like a lot of things in life...

No builder installs expensive trees or shrubs as part of your landscape, 'package.' They go for the obvious, the mundane, the usual, the cheap, the thrifty, the tiny, the least expensive size. And, so it was with our landscape package; one spindly maple tree per front yard. A match stick with some leaves on top.

Once planted the wee trees looked like scared kids on a playground standing alone with wide open space surrounding each. I'm not certain, but I think I saw leaves shaking, and it wasn't wind that rustled them, I think they were scared, they were so little.

At any rate, most survived the first winter...amazingly. But, come spring when all the other trees started to bud and act all proud of themselves, mine just stood there. Nothing. No buds. No sign of fuzzy tufts. Nada.

I sighed. Figures mine would be the only one that didn't make it. When I looked at it, though, the gardener in me felt, "I just don't think it's dead...give it some time." And, that's exactly what it needed. Time.

A few weeks after all the other fledgling trees unfurled vermilion, transparent new leaves, my maple finally started to sprout its head of new growth. A late bloomer it seemed. Well that's all right, I thought, at least it didn't die.

It wasn't until the following fall that I saw the individual glory and wonder of my slow tree. For, the change started for the other maples in late August; by the end of September, their bright yellow leaves began to drop. And, by early October they were as bald as they could be.

And, my slow bloomer turned a brilliant red orange! Even now, well into November, it still holds its leaves with the same tenacity that my terriers hold onto their stuffies.

I've often read wonderful posts of people who home school or usher their children through the complex maze of life these days. People like Sarah or Mel who have shared their views on labels and the silos we insist on placing people for our convenience.

I completely agree with them. We're too quick to judge others by personal measures to make it easy to hold them fixed in our consideration and thoughts. If it's different from our norm, we either pigeon hole it or attempt to discount it entirely.

What a shame.

Why can't we look for what is unique in each thing we encounter? Each person we meet? Is it really more difficult to wonder about its unique charms rather than the effort required to insist on slamming a square peg into our round hole?

So, back to my wee tree: Yeah, in comparison to all the others immediately around, it looked like a dud; a disappointment; a failure. Looked like it until I had more experience and time with it. Had the opportunity to get to know its unique nature.

But now, as I look out at all the other bare trees, and see my little gem glinting in the sun like rubies, I realize I got the prize out of all of them. My neighbors have often commented about the pretty color of its leaves and how different it is from the rest on the street.

And, how lucky am I? Here's to celebrating the differences! Viva la Difference~

Namaste' Till Next Time,


jkc said...

Love this, going to take a minute to check out the tree...will give you a wave.

Eileen said...

Oh Holly, I love your tree and love your story with such an important lesson for us all!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Viva la Difference is right!!!!! So glad this tree turned out to be the jewel of your heart and the 'hood.

This is a perfect post with an excellent message.

Thanks and love ya,

Sunny said...

So well said, Holly.
Viva la difference!
Sunny :)

Sarah said...

Oh Holly what a wonderful post!! You are so very right! This is so deeply true. Sometimes the wonderful things, amazing things..they take time to show their true colors!!
I love you Holly, you know this!! You have a gift. You touch me with it every day!! Thank you!
Love, Sarah

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yay, little tree! You rock!

Mel said...

Oh but I just LOVE this post....for so many, many reasons....

I don't doubt for a second that your spirit of love and acceptance fed the energies of your lovely home and into the roots of that fabulous little tree....

~brightest blessings Dear One~

Alix said...

Ah yes. Such wise words and sage advice.

We too moved into a community that had just broken ground. We were the first contract house on our street and faced the same ugly war zone landscape. I remember all too well the sand lots, dusty streets, and heavy equipment rolling down the street - for years.

We got two spindly trees... saplings really. Live Oak saplings. They grow verrrrrrry slowly. They become majestic, eventually, but it takes forever. Several years ago when we had all those hurricanes in a row (4!) the wind blew so hard, one of my trees toppled over and the other was pushed into a leaning posture. It is quite big around now, quite tall, and still leans. I wonder if it will ever right itself. Like, maybe in 200 years or so.

I agree with you about embracing the differenced in each other and having an open heart and mind. You meet so many more friends that way!


SCJ Jewelry Design said...

Lovey post today. Nice reminder that everything and everyone is unique in its own way.

joyce said...

The lesson that everyone is different and beautiful because of their uniqueness is one of the most important there is. I only wish high school students, with their desire to be "just like everone else", and ostrasizing anyone who isn't, would understand it better.

clairedulalune said...

The mighty tree! Holly, what a wonderful post, time is the magic ingredient! ((Hugs))

Anonymous said...

Holly, this resonates with me BIG time today. A lesson I had to learn myself. Not so much in judging others, but in judging my own abilities. I doubted and spoke negative on myself, but once I turned that around something AMAZING started to happen!

I loved reading about your beautiful tree. It reminded me of a tree I love..Myself :)

Jules said...

Great post Holly. So significant. The wonders we can obtain when we stay open and slow down to actually see it.

Alison said...

A lovely post with a great message. I know I often need to be more patient....

beth said...

I was a slow one to blossom and grow, too...I needed extra time and a guiding hand along the way, just like your tree...actually I still do every now and then when the winds pick up and push me around....

spottedwolf said...

Nice Holly...well said.

The definition of 'genius' in its Greek origins was merely 'inspired spirit'......analogous to your post by infering that each of us is unique in our own way.

Many times I have people remark that I never gave them an answer their dialogue proposed a series of new questions.

Though we pattern through the same emotional 'playing fields'......our 'unique genius' is the ability to perceive every incident with individuality. It is the idiosycratic image which seemingly separates us from every other person....until we seek to judge their situation through their eyes.

Barbara said...


I loved this post. And clearly, your little Maple was the runt of the litter, the odd man out who decided early on to make something of himself. I just love the underdog...:p)

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