Saturday, April 9, 2011

Trees among us

There's something alluring about trees. Perhaps its their stable stature, that offers just enough security to take the challenge of scaling as high as you can among their branches. Up above, you feel hidden, peering down at the world below from a strange and wonderful perspective. As a child, I learned to both enjoy and fear trees, reaching to the strong branches for support while never fully trusting my safety in them. As an adult, my appreciation for these very qualities in trees has not disappeared. Thankfully, neither has Ricardo's.

Trees can be an awesome thing to behold. The grace and beauty with which they sway in the breeze, the fragrance of their blossoms as they dance from the branches to the ground. The artful ways in which they filter light and sift shadows in the late afternoon. The ways they whisper if you stand still enough to listen in the forest. Yet on the other spectrum of awesome, there are the ways they, too, are subject to the forces of nature, bending sideways until even the hardiest trunks can snap in two, roots being uprooted in a storm like carrots in a garden and then tossed wherever the wind pleases. I remember sitting on the couch in the living room as a teenager at one of our houses, watching our tall, thick trees in the backyard whip back and forth in a storm, my heart racing, praying one of them didn't end up on top of our house. Trees can make you feel, in equal parts, vulnerable and protected, exposed and shaded, carefree and cautious.

I don't know how it came to be that I decided to write about trees today, except I went for a long walk at Discovery Park this afternoon. This park houses some of my favorite trees in all of Seattle. The kinds with the wide trunks, branches low to the ground, with nooks and crannies inviting you to climb inside and sit for a visit. It's as if they want to share the beauty of their home with you, to showcase the stunning views from their windows.

So on my walk today, I accepted the invitation and climbed inside one such perch in a tree. It wasn't a long visit. The wind was too chilly for me to sit for more than a few minutes, but as I leaned against the tree, I noticed the wind. I admired its presence in the tops of the trees that, from my perch, were in the canyon below me. I filled my lungs with this refreshing spring breeze, sweeping in from the bay in front of me, the Olympic Mountains and San Juan islands out in the far distance. As I sat, I felt peace filling my soul. My little stop to fill my tank at a gas station. I silently thanked God for this tree, for this breeze, for the shimmers of sun breaking through the clouds, for the peace carried like oxygen in the wind.

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