Friday, December 22, 2006

One of my loves is flora

An Arbutus tree is my favorite tree, generally, not specifically. An arbutus tree is a thing of beauty to behold. Ok I feel that way about most trees. Truth be told, each has it's own wonder to share and lessons to teach. None the same, yet all similar and different. Still the arbutus has a special place in my heart, along side the Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Yellow Cedar, Red Alder, and Broad leaf Maple of my early years. It is somewhat unfortunate that I met Vine Maple in my late teens and had to build trail through it's tendency to droop and drape and fall. The many overlapping leaves can bring layered beauty to be sure, but it is not an elder companion and constant friend as were the trees of my youth.

I think, in my heart, I view the arbutus as the Orthodox viewed the Pope. I hold the arbutus tree to be, for me, the first among equals. The reds and oranges of the curling wisps of bark. The deep waxy green of the leaves. Those crazy berries that look so wild and are great fun to throw at a brother. The wild unchartable path of growth, with many twists and turns, that goes on to enhance the marvelous mystique and wonder of that tree. Being part of the 3rd generation to be born on this coastline I feel like I have a history here. A love for the land and the trees, for the rain and the sea.

There is a story from when my mother was a little girl. She had learned the names of the various trees. Including one that grew on the adjacent property. One day that tree was being cut down and she roared home in great concern for her butus tree. How could they do that with her butus tree? Someone explained that it was on the other fellow's property but she still didn't understand. Realization dawned on the faces of those around as she said one more "how can it be his tree? I thought it was our butus tree?"

And I think she was right. It is our butus tree. They are our butus trees. Ours to admire, appreciate, and share.

But perhaps their time has come. Perhaps my family's relationship with those great evergreen broadleaves is coming to a close. Due to climatic change, their range is shifting. A blight is also killing them off in many of the areas I came to first meet these trees. These unconventional coastal fellows who seem to go whichever way they chose. In some places all that remains is their stark skeletal frame, twisted and naked, all of the vibrant colour shed to the forest floor. Sun bleached bare branch bones, the only monument that remains of what once was there.

Yet as the climate changes and growth patterns alter, as species move and adapt, I am still in wonder and awe at the world and it's movements. There is a sorrow in the passing of these trees, but a joy as well. In light of their fragility and temporance I appreciate the time I have with my favorite of trees. It is a lesson I'm learning to apply to other areas of life as well. Perhaps it is wisdom, perhaps growing older, "perhaps it's about damn time" some may say.

I become less able to define the "whys" behind things and have become more to just be thankful and enjoy it while I can. I feel this is a good thing. And other then when I'm having momentary stressful times, I'm generally pretty content.

So thank you. Thank you my family. Thank you my friends. Thank you for the life this far lead. Thank you for what the day brings and what it does not. Thank you for each second, each breath, each extra beat that we've got. Sooner or later this road it does stop. So enjoy the roadtrip and all it entails.

Till our paths cross again. I'll be travelling my road too, then perhaps for a time we'll get to share a car, a meal, a breakdown, an adventure, or a pit stop.
Till that day we meet again,
I remain,
heading onward inward, and inward out.

1 comment:

bluelicorice said...

travelling different roads is what makes people unique. then when we meet again we can share our crazy random stories creating unique insights into worlds that are not our own.