Monday, May 12, 2014

On the eastern redbud and where things grow

In the Smoky Mountains, the road weaves and we follow its path.  Always curving right and left among the jagged edges that have been carved out for travelers; rising and descending with our fellow sojourners, because once upon a time, they blasted through the mountains with tools and TNT, paving way for the possible.  Around each turn, we are enchanted where the bluest sky cuts deep into these green sloped marvels. Shadows cast the perfect mystery along the way and just beyond, a burst of light.

The open road invites us into a space big enough for thinking the kind of thoughts that require a great deal of room.  It s a place where one can find what they are searching for.

The road is lined with etchings, often sporadic, but also clear with intention; a timeless masterpiece depicting the laws of nature, carrying the whispers of yesterday and the willing canvas to the carvings of tomorrow.  They tell of the forces to which we will always fall prey, the howling winds and the rushing waters-- always creating, ever changing.

And the trees, always trees.   Green for as far as one can see.  And the thing with trees is that you can’t ponder them for too long without considering the roots.  And roots, that’s where the controversy lies.   Roots baffle me a bit with their consistent ways, how they dig in and remain. I’m not sure what to make of that. 

So, we continue and I considered the trees. Safely in the valleys and along the slopes they grow in masses. In the familiar soil, in all the designated spots, roots interweaving and combining, marking their territory for generations, in a this land is your land, this land is my land, kind of way.  I suppose it is desirable after all, it’s the way of trees and people.

And yet.

Along the road lined with jagged edges, among the etched stones and swooping cliffs, I notice them again and again.  I noticed until I could hear their story, a rather familiar tale.  The Eastern Redbud, with its slender trunks and spiny roots grasped the rocks, lingering near the edge, daring to thrive where others could not, burst forth with radiant purple blossoms.   And the roots, they were exposed, which is kind of a bold move for things of that nature.  They were hopeful and they were brave, because uncertainty was real, but so are possibilities. 

This adventure we are on, the inherent restless winds howling within, it’s baffling and beautiful. Tomorrow awaits us with absolutely anything and we can face it trembling with fear or delight.  So often, I want to make sense of this journey, the way our path weaves up and down and over, but understanding usually comes with some sort of finality and we’re still rising and falling with the trail before us.  

And yet.

Breaking the silence, as the kids slept in the backseat, I looked over at my husband and said, “You know, if I was a tree, I think I’d be one of those.” And after sharing my miniature discourse on the types of trees and roots, which, of course, wasn’t really about trees and roots at all, he agreed.


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