Thursday, December 21, 2006

This tree is my mentor. My muse. My inspiration.
Artwork: 'Earth' c 2006 Susan Gallacher-Turner

There was a terrible wind storm this last week. The power went out plunging my home into darkness. As I lit candles, I marveled at how cozy and calm the house seemed. I was still able to crochet by candlelight. It seemed ‘timely’ to have the lights go out at this time of the year, when the sunlight also goes out sooner. It felt right to be lighting candles, settling in to quietly work with my hands while the storm raged outside.

The next day on my walk around the lake with my lab, Jilly, I could see the storm hadn’t been so kind to the cedars in the woods. I stood there, mouth gaping stunned at the damage to the trees that have stood so tall and strong in the grove. Huge branches had been torn down by the wind; I could see the violent tearing of the wood from the trunk of the tree.

I wondered…does it hurt to have a branch torn off? Will the tree continue to grow? I reached out and placed my hand on the downed branch with my questions.

The answers were all around me, all I had to do was look. Yes, losing a branch is felt by the whole tree as well as those hit by it in the grove. And yes, again, the tree will continue to grow. As I looked around I saw branches growing in curved ‘u’ shapes, down the side of one great tree, curving up and supported in its growth by the tree next to it. One tree had a thick, twisted metal wire sticking out of its trunk about 3 feet from the ground; yet that didn’t stop it from growing either. This great cedar is over 40 feet tall with great curved and twisted branches reaching out to the rest of the cedars in the grove.

There he stood, cut by wire, torn by wind, broken by storms and still growing. Oh, the branches aren’t all straight and perfect. In fact, some curve downward before they reach toward the sky. Some have broken off after about 3 feet and grown again smaller, in the opposite direction. Some have broken off completely. Yet the tree grew on and stronger and still beautiful branches tower over those hurt in the past.

This tree is my mentor. My muse. My inspiration.

I see there is a lesson here for me. Like the trees, I grow. Along the way, storms come and there is damage. A supporting wire becomes too small and tight, so I grow around it. A branch, a job, relationship or career is broken away and still I grow. I sprout new branches as new abilities, talents and relationships grow and reach for the light. And even when storms come and branches crack or fall completely off, I know, like my great cedar friends, my roots are fine and I am alive and growing.

1 comment:

Janet Grace Riehl said...

Dear Susan,

Trees as teachers, mentors, muses and inspirations make such sense to me. I love the image of the Woman Tree and I feel that is what you are growing into being.

Janet Grace Riehl