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The Giving Tree

When I head out of my house bedazzled in my army green, low-crotch sweat pants, stained military green sweatshirt, clunky New Balance kicks and manly man wide brimmed-hat and yell over my shoulder, “I’m walking to the tree.” This is the tree I’m talking about - this glorious specimen ripped from a storybook and plunked down in a modest neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley.

…Ain’t she grand?

It’s spring here in Los Angeles. And every spring this vixen gets her flower on and she never disappoints. She marks the halfway point of my walk but she is truly the finish line, the treasure at the end of the rainbow, the grand prize. When I round the bend to see her my breath catches, my eyes widen and something very deep within me stirs. Honestly. It does. A smile spreads across my lips and my gait slows and I just feel so utterly grateful. How joyous this splendid creature! How beautiful! that something so sublime exists and I get to firsthand witness it and touch her and be just a little part of her experience. This tree makes me want to grow a long, white beard and use a cane and lie beneath her and prop my head on my elbow and eat crusty bread from a picnic basket and write poetry about the color pink or purple or fuchsia or all of them. I would do all of that except I’m not the best at growing beards (unwanted mustaches are more my thing) and I think the people who own the property where this delightful nymph lives might have a problem with it. I don’t know. I probably won’t ask them. Anyway, this glorious tree, she is so fine...!

So, on my journey this morning I was thinking about getting back into my blog and what I wanted to share when I did so today. I’ve been away for a little bit - enjoying my naughty kids and writing and working on other things, some utterly fulfilling, some a little less so. And I thought about what I wanted to share - so many things, so much to say, so much has happened, so much is happening! But it’s all so simple, really. I mean, it always is… slow it down. Be simple. And there it was and here it is: this tree. This token of God’s presence that somehow found within itself the energy and artistry to burst forth and flower and give us all this gift of itself asking nothing in return except to experience it. It won’t last forever. It will only last a few short days, a couple of weeks at the very most and then it will drop it's lusty leaves and green ones will quickly replace them until it all happens again next year. It is an astounding process and there have been times, seeing the green and only the green for months and months on end when I've doubted any color could ever spring forth from those branches. When we first moved here to this neighborhood nearly fourteen years ago I used to push the kids’ around in their stroller. I was so busy and distracted and tired and thinner. I pushed and the kids’ yelled out their demands for more Teddy Grahams or Goldfish and I made a point to take some of this paradise for myself. I needed that tree then, as I do know, to remind me - slow it down a bit. And so I consciously inhale deeply and slowly on my walks. This morning I lingered and sniffed so long on that heady jasmine I nearly got drunk on it and don't even get me started on the citrus blossoms, my favorite, my drug of choice. This springtime folly is intoxicating and special and I'm so all over it. It won't last. And that's okay. Still - get in there, get it while it's hot.

I have a lot I still want to do and places I will go and stories to experience and write and tell you about but for now, slowing down and taking in the glory of nature in my own little neighborhood is just about as luxurious as this old girl can imagine and I'm all in.

"Aren’t we lucky?" I say to my kids all the time. Because it's just so beautifully true.

Aren’t we just so lucky to be alive and live in a world where beauty like this exists?!

#tree #spring #grateful

© 2016 by Marion McNabb Grace

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