Tom and I returned from a ten-day walkabout to find our yard a flurry of color. Blossoms appeared on the red oak tree that claims its home in the center of our backyard. The Japanese maple tree magically transformed its blossoms into deep red leaves. The lilac bushes burst into full blossom.
Tom’s dad had once nourished this yard—planted and tended the fruit trees, tomatoes, flowers, and deep green grass that made his yard seem more a meadow than a suburban back yard. The lemon tree in our front yard continues to bear fruit year round after 60 years.
I’m sure he planted the lilacs 60 years ago as well.
As his physical and mental health deteriorated and he was no longer able to tend to it, the meadow disappeared. He cut down the fruit trees, stopped planting flowers and tomatoes, and stopped the flow of water. In the summer, it returned to the dry rocky soil that makes this area perfect for growing grapes. In the winter, when the rains return, the native plants (weeds?) overtook it.
In the summer of 2001, we thought that the lilac tree was dead. But water brought it back to life. It takes its place in the middle of the path on the way to my writing shed. In its dormant months, with its gnarly trunk and bare branches, it is a sculpture. In the spring, for a brief moment, its blossoms touch me lightly with their fragrance as I pass them on the way to my daily writing. As spring progresses into summer, the blossoms let go while the deep green leaves remain. Fall comes and the leaves take their leave.
I think the lilac tree is my touchstone. The trunk and branches hold a world that is home to each new generation of foliage. It endures the passage of time and the change it brings.
I titled my latest book of morning pages “All Change is Good” to remind me that change happens. That life is constantly changing.
I drew the Bat card this morning from my Animal Wise Tarot deck. Bat, Ted Andrews writes in his book Animal Speak, is “. . . a symbol of promise amidst the sometimes chaotic energies of change.”
Change is about. For me personally and for the outer world as well, I think. The old power structures are desperately resisting change, refusing to embrace the diversity of human experience and the ambiguity of the sacred. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. But that assumes that the devil is the devil. In the movie Jacob’s Ladder, Danny Aiello tells Tim Robbins that someone wrote that he thought there were demons tearing at his flesh until he realized they were angels coming to take him away.
Promise amidst the sometimes chaotic energies of change.
The flurry of color was a nice surprise on our return. I hadn’t expected it.
nice post, Karen… not sure I agree that all change is good, but change is the one thing we can count on, so we better get used to it! (great photos too!)
Thanks, Jenn. That change thing is tricky. And, yeah, it is the one thing we can count on. I named my morning pages that because I seem to be on a sea change of change . . . Figured it was the best way to roll with it all. Hope all is well with you.
Change is everywhere. It is how we respond to it that matters. Positive expectations are important.
Doesn’t mean we don’t grieve if necessary. And sometimes we are dragged kicking and screaming into change. But, there you are. But in the end, if we don’t roll with it, we get eaten by it.