“And how would God be known as the Eternal One if brilliance did not emerge from
God? For there is no creature without some kind of radiance–whether it be
greenness, seeds, buds, or another kind of beauty.”
---St. Hildegard of Bingen
I can't explain it. It just kept haunting me, hunting me down, on my walk.
So, the other day I dragged it home and stuck it in the ground! Not only that, and, weird, I know. . .I took photographs of it to share. . .
Just look at that lovely limb-skin! (and, try this: click on the photo, and it will get larger so you can see more detail)
I read that sycamores continually shed bark because the tree's "skin" doesn't expand as the wood grows. So, it tends to split and pop, and curl and peel and slough, creating a mottled pattern on the tree's trunk and branches. And, I read, you don't really want one of these planted in your yard, because it's something every minute.
In fact, one of our biggest battles lately has been with sycamore leaves. A mature tree is planted three doors to the north on the west side of the street. When the leaves fall, the wind swoops them our way and creates a funnel straight up our driveway, where they settle next to the garage and the deck. They rake themselves into big piles next to the fence, and "all" we have to do is collect them.
I tried that one sunny afternoon, and filled six large bags in about five minutes. Next, Jack tried mulching them. Then he discovered that if he mowed over them first and then mulched them, he could bag them. So, my husband was out mowing the driveway!
These December days are mild. Every day I tell myself, "This is our last nice day." So far, it hasn't come true.
And this afternoon--if you can believe it--I pulled up an Adirondack chair and aimed it at the sun. And the branch and I. . .well, we. . .conversed.
I went first:
"Was it a shock to you, to be suddenly sheared off by the wind, taken from your source, from everything familiar? That's happened to me before--about five times now, that I can recall; and once only recently."
"And did you go willingly? I never have. Not even once!"
I was doing all of the talking, and since I got no answer, I switched to observations instead:
"You seem so whole--doing the best things at this time in your life cycle. Look at you, still carrying some of your late autumn leaves. And fruit. Buds, even. "
"It's as though you are prepared, regardless, still expecting to perpetuate life; still expecting to put on new growth."
And then I heard her say, "Process, process, process."
So I said, "There's still charm in the way your leaves flutter in the breeze. I see, too, that you've let go of what you must. You're a grandmother, I think, like me."
She nodded, and smiled.
In the Bible, I told her, the sycamore is a symbol of strength, divinity, and eternity. "Do you believe that, too?" I asked.
Then she told me, "I dare you to stand beneath any 130-foot tall tree, looking up into the unalterable blue sky, and tell me you don't experience that heady feeling of expansion. I just dare you!"