Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The winds of change

In 2002, shortly after I moved into Jim's home, we heard (and felt) an enormous crash in the wee hours of the morning that signaled "Taps" for the 250-year-old oak tree around which our patio was built. In falling, it took our chimney, our fence, a cherry tree, our neighbors' second-story deck, and issued a reminder about impermanence.

This morning I looked at my youngest grandson, wearing a shirt that just a few short months ago hung below his bottom, with sleeves half-way down his arms. This morning, it fit him.

In 1998, I few to the Midwest to meet my first grandchild and to marvel at where the years had gone since his daddy - my middle son - was a sweet, sleepy baby in my arms. Next January, Andrew will be a teenager.

In 1970, I held my first baby in my arms, marveling at the perfection and beauty of this long-awaited child. This month, Martin will be 40 years old.

My younger sister and I spent our growing-up years alternately playing together and fighting with each other. We shared a room and taped a line down the middle over which we dared one another to step. She took all of my dolls under the dining table and pulled off their arms and legs. I either ignored her or treated her with disdain through most of my teenaged years. In a few months, my baby sister will be 60.

On Monday, Jim & I stood gape-mouthed, staring up at one of the three tall old fir trees that stand next to our deck. We were sick with the realization that the abundance of fir needles in our yard this Spring is due to the death of this beautiful old tree. A phone call will have to be made, the tree will have to be felled. We will benefit from it one more year as we burn the wood during the winter. And we'll still have the other two to enjoy for a few more years.

Change. Transition. Uncertainty. Of such is life made. But no matter how hard I try to remember this, no matter how many times I promise myself that I will appreciate each minute, each day, each event, as unique and transient, I continue to fail. I take things for granted, whether they be trees, seasons, relationships.

Perhaps that is the nature of humankind.


  1. I don't think its possible to fully engage in appreciating everything for what it is in the moment all the time. After all, to a certain degree, childhood was carefree because we had no concept that some day it would be gone with the wind, never to return.
    Its impossible for me to full sit and and do my day to day things and to appreciate the really important things like my job and my children, my family and my home if I get caught up trying to appreciate EVERYTHING, like a working dishwasher, tires that haven't popped, mail that doesn't get wet in my mailbox and pants that haven't split in the seams. You know?
    A person's being only has so much bandwidth from moment to moment. And, even if you could appreciate everything in each moment, you would still miss it when it was gone.

    But, its good to stop and think of these things. It keeps the heart open:)

  2. A very poignant post, Cheryle. We can try to be in the "now" but most of us fail to achieve it. Every once in a while a reminder comes the fir tree....and we can try again. This really hit home -- thank you.