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tree in chaos

I’ve always felt a kinship with trees. I remember climbing an oak tree in my backyard growing up. Higher, higher I climbed, my book clutched under my arm, reaching up for my spot – a little crook where the tree limb met the trunk – the perfect place to read. Reading took me to places far away, I could disappear into a book and live another life. In my tree I could feel the breeze breathing promise into my lungs, reminding me to open my mouth and take it all in – the wonder of a beautiful sky.

Every day this week I’ve woken up early. Before the sun came up, my eyes  sprang open and I laid in the darkness, listening to nothing. Listening to the pre-dawn silence…the occasional car, the trees rustling, the first tentative chirps from another early bird like me. I lay there waiting for the breeze to breathe promise into my lungs. I lay there waiting for hope to find me.

It is a season of my life where uncertainty is my constant companion. I’ve never danced well, and I’ve certainly never danced well with uncertainty. Even when I read from the crook in the tree, I had to be certain things turned out ok at the end of the book. When the main character lay stricken and near death, I would tearfully flip to the back of the book, searching for her name, searching for some dialogue that proved she made it through this circumstance.

Today I find myself looking for hope that I’m going to make it through the circumstance. Today I find myself wishing that my book had an ending I could flip to, just to be sure that the girl makes it to the end. And in the early mist of morning, I cannot flip forward in my book, but I can remember the story to this point. I can remember this is not the first time I’ve felt alone. I can remember that even in chaos and wind, my tree is firmly rooted. You don’t think about roots so much when you’re climbing the tree. You don’t think about them when you’re in the crook of a limb, watching a story unfold in your mind. You don’t think of them when the heroine is lost and her future is uncertain. But when the seasons change, when the wind has stripped the leaves from your tree, when the dance with uncertainty is leaving you limping with blisters, you remember. When you’re going through a tough present moment, you’re reminded how much your roots matter. Today I remember that my roots are deep. As I lie in the darkness and see the first streaks of light through my window, I imagine my roots growing ever deeper in the dark quiet soil. And my heart moves out of my throat and begins to beat quieter.

I’ve got deep roots. I don’t need to know the ending, because the story is unfolding before my eyes. Throwing back the covers, greeting the cold with appreciation for all the feeling my body lights up with, drinking my coffee in the early morning light, I sit with the uncertainty. And I wait.

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