Thursday, May 13, 2010
Lately, I can’t seem to focus on anything for too long without becoming choked-up by the emotion of these last fleeting, astoundingly precious days. They are to be savoured, not chewed hastily while looking ahead to the anticipated next course. These are the small muscles of time.
I went for a little hike in the woods with my grandsons yesterday. As we made our way to a small pond to feed the ducks, I am thrilled that D, who will be seven in September, is able to correctly identify several different trees.
“That’s a Pine!”, he says, confidently.
“How do you know?”, I ask.
“It has long, sharp fingers,” he answers.
“Needles,” I smile.
“And that’s a Fir because it has short, soft fingers ... needles,” he continues, cupping his hand over one.
“That’s right,” I tell him.
“And there is a Birch tree, and that one is a Poplar.”
“And, how can you tell the difference between the two?”, I say.
“Birch has white bark and you can peel it easy,” and he demonstrates, holding a small curl of wood in his palm. “Poplar looks almost the same, but its bark is green.”
“You are starting to know the language of the trees!”, I say, proudly.
Throughout the conversation, M, aged four, echoes the names like a little tree seeking its own light and place.
D looks at me and grins. I grin back. It’s the kind of smile which possesses the soul ... both his and mine. I take out my camera. But it’s impossible, because you can't take pictures of something that hangs in the air, like breath that is suddenly, momentarily visible, of this heart stretching, ephemeral beauty.
Maybe the whole cosmic and social mystery of life is a continuous tightening and loosening of myriad knots. To be caught in its binding and loosening can be both terrible and beautiful. This is the texture of life. I wonder what transfiguration I will make of my new mosaic? Like the inner heartwood of old trees, I hope I continue to grow.