A Crossing

We lost a tree to the drought — a big granddaddy of a pine. Who knows how long it stood watching as the world changed around it. But I’m watching men carry rounds of it out of my yard and into the chipper and I can’t help but feel sad.

Because.

What popped the seed from the cone, what heat? What soil was there and what rain? Did hands plant the seedling in that spot or did divine hands, like a magician weaving magic, cause the whirl and the settle and the dust and the rain and the firming and rounding and bursting that brought forth the shoot that felt around down and down for its roots and then pushed up and up to find the heat and the sun? What is the story behind this tree that stood guard over the yard, flanked the bench where I like to sit on a summer’s day?

The chain saw stops and I watch men carry stumps. These aren’t going in the chipper. They are too big. What does one do with the sawed up chunks of a large pine tree? There’s a part of me saying, “Save a piece, a momento” but why? I lived near it for 5 years and 5 years in the face of decades is nada. But should there be a memorial, a marker to say here lies the decaying roots of a good tree?

It takes 3 men to pull the trunk to the ground. It takes 2 men to pull a limb that has fallen in the neighbor’s tree.

It took 3 people to fill my son’s cavity this morning. A dentist and a hygienist and a mom holding hands and the TV playing in the background because distraction is a good thing when facing our scary things.

It feels like a passage this morning, another aging step. Little boy getting sealants on his molars, his permanent teeth, because they need to last a lifetime. And a lifetime of reaching branches to the sky is coming down. There should be a marking.

Because I watched tears in my brave boy’s eyes this morning as the first branches of the browning tree were sawed off. And I’m reminded of holding him, sobbing myself, shortly after he was born while the doctor performed a procedure and little boy exercised lungs that a few weeks earlier weren’t strong enough to support his life. It was an agony of waiting for those lungs to develop.

Tears in my boy’s eyes… they never get easier to see. And the mama’s heart says yes, this is good for you but I know it hurts now. And I want to cry out against the hurt, take it on myself. So I hold tighter to the little hand that daily fills my own more and more. It is the last little hand I have to hold? 7 years have passed since that moment and yet where did the time go? Oh the growing since then.

And when the next tree goes, where will we be?

There’s a hole in the skyline now. Perhaps the moon will shine more fully through now. Perhaps the birds will miss it, its branches. And its absence means a break in the sky highway of the squirrels as they jump and play from one tree to the next.1656006_10203514248114950_9002450591513174413_n

So, I’m writing it down because I don’t know when the next tree will die, when the next marking is coming. When the next grown up step is taken and when the next stop in growth will come.

It’s a holy crossing this morning, milestones, growing up and dying. It demands a reverence. Amen. And Amen.1800355_10203006224694682_61845596_n

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