One of the prompts from Cricket’s Slice Of Life this week is Mother Nature.
If you haven’t tried Slice Of Life yet why not give it a go? It’s a bit like writing your memoirs. This is a story about three trees and the power of nature.
Sometimes it’s all I can do to keep the big sadness at bay. Once I felt more desolate than I ever have before. It was after my beloved Irish Grandmother had died. Seven years ago. She was 94 and had lived an exultant life but I wanted her to live forever.
My mother had flown to Ireland when she heard my Gran was ill. I got the dreaded call at 3AM telling me she had passed away. I had tried to call my Gran all week, just to say I love you one more time but the hospital had failed to put me through. So I didn’t get to speak to her before she died. I didn’t get to see her before she died.
The funeral was hard. It was bleak. It was raining but over 400 people showed up at the tiny stone Church. If only a quarter of that number turn up to my funeral I would feel I had lived a good life.
Despite the rain I remember feeling unaccountably thirsty. A weariness descended like mist. I walked to a copse of oak trees, seeking shelter, seeking solace. And amidst the trees I found it. Carved there, almost high enough to be out of reach, out of sight, so that only the birds could see – crude, transitory, a revelation. Bridget loves this tree. And the date, 1925. Still there after all that time. My Grandmother would have been in her late teens when she carved that. Full of the hope, optimism and joy that sustained her throughout her life. That tree made me feel that everything would be all right.
The second tree is a tree I often sit against when I need to clear my head. A Moreton Bay Fig. It stands majestic and solid in the local park, on the water’s edge, branches hanging out over the bay. The canopy is so thick the rain is soft underneath it, just a suggestion, like the touch of fingertips. I go there and sit when things seem too much, when my thoughts are in tatters. And there, on the mossy groundcover, in the watery green light, clarity returns. That tree is better than any tonic.
The third tree is a new tree, only planted yesterday. A gorgeous little Japanese maple, delicate as a newborn baby, little leaves turned up like cups, collecting rainwater and glimpses of sun. Planted for someone who won’t see it in this world, but hopefully is seeing it right now from the new world she inhabits. Planted with love and ceremony for my friend, Andie. A tree for her, a tree for the family left behind offering them comfort. Offering them solace. I hope that as it grows her children will sit beneath it, finding shade, finding shelter, that they will remember what they loved best about her.
The power of mother nature cannot be discounted. The trees hold magic in their branches, telling secrets, offering a balm against emptiness with a purity and force that is constant and true. Theirs is a gift as precious as life. They make up the landscape, distinct as memory. In silhouette they almost look human. Their silence is a kind of eloquence. The vastness of their trunks is home.