There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~Minnie Aumonier
Yesterday, I walked home from the C-train, the September sun warm against my skin. I walked along tree lined sidewalks bordered by manicured lawns, and piles of dead branches. As I walked I kept looking up to ensure there were no limbs of trees precariously hanging, threatening to fall to the ground.
It snowed here last week. Twice. The first snowfall was bad enough. When I wrote about it, I thought it was a freak September anomaly, Mother Nature having a hissy fit. Maybe she was experiencing nature’s form of menopause. The heat got to her and she snapped.
And then, the snow fell again, two days later. This time the skies dumped a heavy, wet oppressive blanket that caused significant damage to the urban canopy, as I heard our Mayor call it yesterday on the radio. $4.5 million dollars worth of damage and counting.
The trees in our yard were saved. No giant branches falling. No limbs snapped off from the trunk.
It might have been different.
In our backyard we have a giant and beautiful crabapple tree. Four years ago, when the arborist came to trim its companion birch tree, he pointed to the inside of the crab apple tree and said as he pushed a stick down into her trunk, “See here. She’s a beauty but she hasn’t been very well cared for over the years. She’s been rotting from the inside out because waters been getting into her trunk for quite some time. She’s drowning.”
“A tree will always try to heal itself,” he said and he bore a hole on each side of her trunk and slid an iron rod into it. “It will give her strength and prevent her trunk from splitting.” And he showed me a limb where someone had trimmed her, on the other side of the piece that was rotten.
He shows me the end of a branch that someone has cut back. “Someone cut her back but didn’t leave any place for her to heal herself. Cut her on a dead limb. She tried to heal but she was already dead beyond the cut. There was no way she could heal herself.” He pauses. Taps the cut off piece against her trunk. “She wanted to heal. She really did. But sometimes, even nature can’t overcome bad cuts.”
Like that tree, sometimes, we have to cut off the dead pieces to heal. We have to jettison the parts that no longer serve us well to give ourselves strength to heal from the inside out.
“She won’t be as pretty to look at when I’m done,” he says. “But she’ll be healthy. She’s got good roots and next year, she’ll be even more beautiful than before. It’s all in her roots and how we tend to her above ground.”
And she has been, more beautiful than before, and stronger too.
Our tree survived the storm. She’s got good roots. Her canopy of leaves continues to shade the backyard. Crabapples ripen on her branches, their bright red fruit poking out from between her leaves.
And I wonder… Am I keeping my roots healthy? Am I feeding them what they need to stay strong? Are there things I need to cut off that are leeching me of strength? That no longer feed me, nurture me, strengthen me? Things that limit my growth because I haven’t yet had the courage to cut out the deadwood?
My roots are strong. To keep them strong, I need ensure I am not carrying dead or dying limbs of thoughts that are leaving my roots exposed to the elements, drowning me from the inside out.
No matter what life brings, no matter the weather, the times, the hardships, my roots are strong and with strong roots, I grow and prosper and flourish and leaf out into beauty, as long as I care for myself, no matter the weather, no matter the times, no matter the hardships.
My roots are strong and as long as I take care of nourishing myself from the inside out, my natural capacity to heal will strengthen me from the inside out with every breath I take.