There is a tree just outside my back door.
It’s probably older than me, and the house it shelters. It’s not the prettiest tree around; it’s a bit out of shape, and leans away from the cold winter wind. I’ve been told what kind of tree it is, but I can’t recall its name – yet just knowing the tree is enough.
Although no-one can ever truly own such a majestic outpouring of creation, I call it ‘my tree’.
‘My tree’ is evergreen, giving beautiful shade over our lawn in the hot summer months, and shelter from the rain during winter. In autumn it takes the opportunity to shed some of its leaves and exchange them for new growth for the year ahead, and in spring it blooms and sends pale yellow blossoms floating on the wind, raining down on us, laying out a soft yellow carpet.
It survived the bushfire with us. I remember looking out the window and seeing it caught up in the raging swirl of the fire, twisting and turning, embers circling it, leaving trails like time lapse photography in the blackness. I remember thinking through the terror ‘wow – nature is amazing – that tree is amazing’. Despite the battering, it remained green, an oasis for us all in the months that followed.
A few years ago it needed major surgery. It was leaning greedily over our house, reaching out to us, but causing grief to the structure. We called the tree doctor and the delicate operation of removing the threatening limbs whilst keeping the tree safe and alive caused us all a bit of stress, but it survived and has continued to thrive and bring us joy.
Its gnarly old trunk is covered in green lichen, a testament to the cold winter months it endures up here on the mountain, a symbiont relationship that allows the lichen to fulfil its own needs for food and water while providing protection and warmth for the tree.
And there are always birds – nesting, feeding, resting, singing.
I love ‘my tree’.
I have a relationship with it, and it with me.
It’s not an obvious bond, yet it is strong and true. It inspires me and whispers support. I lie beneath its wide branches on the soft green grass below and ponder life. I feel its strength as it sends its roots deep beneath me into mother earth, encouraging me to do the same – to let go of my worries and draw strength from the ever renewing life that stretches out unseen - supporting, nurturing.
And as I lay there I feel the strength of its branches reaching up to the life giving sun and it invites me to do the same, all the while embracing me in the breath it draws from the pure mountain air.
I wasn’t sure if I could write a blog this week – my head is so full of details and new information, and grief and shock are still being worked through, but ‘my tree’ has given me reason.
As I think about my relationship with ‘my tree’, I think about all of you – and I am filled to the brim with gratitude.
Thank you from the deepest part of my heart for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support. I have read every written message, I have listened to every spoken message, I have heard from David all the gestures of love conveyed and I have taken every single one into my heart.
You are the trunk of ‘my tree’, giving support in wild weather. You are the leaves absorbing the rain, you are the branches that reach out to the sun and you are the roots that draw up strength to nurture me.
You are the song of the birds in my heart and soul.
You are ‘my tree’.
And just like the bark that takes into itself the chain of the swing that brings so much joy to the children in my life, I take into myself your love.
You remind me to lie gently and quietly on the soft green grass beneath ‘my tree’ and call out to mother earth, to father creator, to brother sister nurturer and claim my healing.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Merelyn’s writing is supported in part by the sale of her books. Autobiography - ‘The Deepest Part of Me’. ‘Inspire’ – inspirational reflections for your life’s journey. ‘Stories behind the Songs’ and her first children’s picture book ‘To The Moon and Back - Grandma’s Rocket Ship Adventure’. To find out more about her work and to support her through the purchase of her writings and music, please go to www.carterandcarter.com.au