Friday, December 9, 2016

I Support Tree Love

I Support Tree Love
            I stole the title from someone else who, in turn, had stolen the phrase from a tee-shirt.

            The sentiment fits. I like trees. Leo, the man who helps me with my gardening, might raise his eyebrow. I had him obliterate trees and bushes left and right over the past few months. In my defense, I know the importance of negative space in creating an artistic view and I planted new and different greenery of all kinds with the intent of keeping it under moderate control. Together, we have created a park of art. And, I would say, Leo is a convert to my style.

            But what got me started on this line of thought was a comment of my daughter’s. Her physical therapist who met me a year ago, said to Dee, “How did your Mom and Dad ever get together? They are completely different. Your Dad is so conservative and such a country boy, a home body. Your Mom is easy going, a free spirit; she’s open to exploration. Seems like she would feel at home wherever she landed. They are such opposites.”

            Frankly, I’m glad I wasn’t there to hear Dee’s reply to Tanya. But it got me to thinking about who we think we are and the contrast of how others see us. The two pictures often don’t match.

            Several years ago I was in a training in which one thing we did daily was go around the circle and describe our impressions of each person. At first, we were smarmily complimentary if not exactly honest. Try it. It’s hard to tell another person, eyeball to eyeball, exactly how you see them.

            By the end of the week we were able to give a more balanced picture to one another. I still can’t figure out how people saw me as somewhat of an “airhead”. I’m not sure what that means.

            Moving on.

Oh, and “old hippy”. I would have liked to try on that experience. I even get nostalgic for those days—which I totally missed. While others were “going with the flow” I was hauling buckets of water into our house which had no facilities or running water, canning beans and tomatoes in the summer, washing diapers on a scrub board, driving a team of Percherons to feed cattle in the winter, all without aid of mind-altering substance. I missed out on the happy hippy days and perhaps that was a good thing for me.

            Fortunately, over the years I have had opportunities to know a variety of people. I’ve said “Yes” to a huge number of experiences, not all of which felt wonderful at the time, but all of which added to my growth and understanding of the world in which I live.


            Back to trees. Growing up on the farm south of Harlem, I had my secret tree, a cottonwood with sprawling branches on the banks of the Milk River. When I needed to cry (you remember the teen years), I’d climb into a crotch of that tree, hidden from the world, and pour out my heart.

Many, many years later, when I felt down and discouraged, I often drove across the Hood Canal Bridge to a park along the Quilcene River. Off the river path a ways I had a favorite tree in which I could lose myself. I wrapped my arms around that tree and, always, it revived my spirits.

But don’t take my word for it.

Try it yourself. Alone and in secret, of course. Search out a tree that seems special to you. Quietly. You don’t want anyone calling you an airhead. I won’t tell.

Frankly, I see myself as practical, a woman who has learned how to make the best of whatever situation in which I land.

And, yes, I support tree love.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

December 8, 2016

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