I have never been very good at endings and 2017 was all about endings. Some were good, some not so good, and most were bittersweet. Of course, endings are also beginnings, but sometimes it is tough to see the beginning when you are in the middle of the ending.
My goal for the New Year is to be more like a tree. Instead of riding the highs and lows of beginnings and endings, I want to be more balanced, steady, and resilient – more tree-like.
When my daughter was two she started hugging trees. This wasn’t something I taught her, or even suggested; she just started doing it. One morning on our way to the park, about six blocks from our apartment, she waddled up to a tree, wrapped her soft arms around the trunk, and cried, “I remember this tree.”
Each day she discovered (or remembered) more trees. There were days we didn’t even make it to the park because there were too many trees in need of hugs. Some of the trees were young and their leaves rattled when she hugged them. But most were thick and steadfast and didn’t budge when she leaned into them arms stretched wide, cheeks pressed against their bark, leaving impressions on her skin.
We had four cats in hospice when my daughter was born. The first one passed away when she was six months old and the other three when she was around two, about the same time she started hugging trees.
The end of the cats’ lives shaped the beginning of her life and vice versa, grief and hope all jumbled together. I imagine this is why she was so drawn to trees – because in her eyes they weren’t going anywhere, unlike the cats who were loving, but frail and fading fast.
2017 was very much like those early years with some amazing highs and heartbreaking lows. But this time, I let myself get a little too swept up in the ups and downs and lost my balance.
I want to be different in 2018 – more tree-like in a strong, steady, weather-any-storm kind of way.
Trees are all about balance and perspective. Fierce and resilient, they grow where they want to grow and don’t fall without a fight. And when damaged by storms, fires, or humans, they leave behind their roots and stump as a final badass reminder that they were here.
Trees are always unapologetically themselves. Trees are always trees.
Whatever the New Year holds…Ruby and I wish you the strength, balance and authenticity of trees to weather the storm and celebrate the sun. Happy 2018!