As the Winter snows melt away, the Spring waters recede and the deep mud dries up, I’m able to walk the dogs through areas that have been impassible for months. We often come upon trees that have fallen, casualties of that long ago storm. The big dog usually goes over; the small dog goes under. Most times I go around.
Last week, preparing to go off trail once again to circumvent the large treetop that was still in my path, I noticed a change that brought tears to my eyes, and caused me to investigate further.
This is where the tree begins, far into the woods. The weight of the snow on its branches caused it to bow, and it eventually snapped. It took another, smaller tree down with it.
It is laid out through the woods, forty feet or more of it, from heavy trunk to the tiniest, topmost branches, which are spread out across the woodland path.
And, close-up, look like this:
Yes, oblivious to the fact that the trunk has been severed from the earth, that death is imminent and unavoidable, this tree is about to unfurl its leaves in a show of Springtime glory!
One of my entries here on WordPress was selected for “Freshly Pressed” a couple weeks ago. I think it’s a pretty big honor. I know it’s very flattering.
That distinction brought several new readers and “like”-ers and “follow”-ers (Welcome!) to my blog. It also made me afraid that I would never again have anything to say that would come close to that quality of writing. Which would mean that from here on out, everything I write will be a disappointment (Sorry!).
It really can be quite paralyzing.
Many years ago I worked with a young man named Jeff, the summer after his high school graduation. He had been a popular boy, a football player, the class president, well liked by both students and faculty. He’d had a wonderful high school experience, and he was smart enough to appreciate it. He was also intelligent enough to be thoughtful, and he was afraid. “What if those were the best years of my life?” he wondered, “How can anything else measure up?”
These are similar to my fears about this blog, since being “Freshly Pressed.”
I had opportunity to talk to Jeff ten years later. He’d learned that fresh challenges present themselves, new experiences bring joy, and those high school memories fade into the past, so that they are no longer the yardstick by which all other experiences are measured.
“And how did you come to learn that?” I asked him.
“Well, I guess I just blindly kept going, and things worked out,” he said.
So, with that magnificent, doomed tree and that thoughtful young man as examples, that’s what I’m doing.
Maybe one with a better perspective than I have can see that it’s hopeless. Maybe my best is behind me.
Oblivious to all that, I carry on.