Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Yellow Tree

I always forget the name of the tree in my front yard. It goes through a number of iterations every year, remaining a traditional green for about six months during which it also sprouts lush yellow blossoms then these orangey/red dry petal-like pods, then the yellow leaves that you see here, that gradually drop off and litter our front yard and then, finally, stands bare-limbed for a few months until late April or so when it all starts again.

I don't know what I want to say here, other than the tree marks time in an odd way. Everything changes, and everything changes dramatically, but nothing changes, really. I always think of Sophie when I see this tree during its yellow time. I think of how everything is always changing for her and sometimes even dramatically but how everything, too, is always the same. This is not a qualified statement, something that I believe is good or bad or sad or happy. The older I get, the more I let the qualifier things go. This, too, has nothing to do with good or bad, being faithful or lacking faith, wisdom or stupidity. This is a tree.

This morning, Sophie had another seizure that she recovered from quite quickly, except for her foot. Then she recovered from that, again.  She went to school, and I sat on her bed and sat with myself, really. If you can feel a myriad of feelings and think a million thoughts -- leaf green, flowery yellow, pod-like pink, green-veined yellow, brown-bare and dead on the ground -- then you know what I mean. I felt despair, to tell you the truth, or what feels like despair in the guise of dissociation or supreme weariness. I realized, this morning, and a bit the other day when I wrote the 22 maybes post, that I am less traumatized by the actual thing (the seizure, the paralysis, the constipation, the impacted bowel, the poopy diaper) than I am by the tail, made up of those things, that I've dragged for twenty years, that I'll probably keep dragging with me for as long as Sophie and I are alive.

Yes, traumatized and sometimes overcome. So, I sat there for a while, and then I called my father for a pep talk. I got off the phone laughing.

I'm not too good at extending a metaphor, but think tree -- green, yellow, orangey-red, yellow, brown and back to green. Think of a tail, perhaps a dragon's, its scales green, yellow, orangey-red, yellow, brown and back to green. Another day, another year, behind, today, tomorrow.

I go among trees and sit still

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
Around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle…
Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
Wendell Berry


  1. The redbuds are starting to bloom and the violets
    Are beginning to open.
    The cold rain falls down and it is so hard to believe that
    The Japanese Magnolias will begin to open soon.
    The Ash magnolia thrusts forward its white-gloved hand.
    And the camellias open, each to their own.
    The cat goes from door to door, hoping for better weather at each.
    We continue on. We sleep and wake to new blossoms.
    Amen and hallelujah.
    The rain falls. I hear its song.
    Tap, tap, tapping on my soul.

  2. Must have been a fine pep talk.
    The new IHSS forms were enough to tip me over today, as if they were expressly designed to provoke exhaustion.

  3. I'm gonna guess that that is a hickory, I have my own and their golden yellow is the best thing about my fall leaf colors....
    Thank you for the poem and for the perspective. I am humbled, I really am.
    Enjoy the pretty colors on that tree, in some dappled light and a light breeze, maybe with a glass of lemonade.... :)

  4. Is it okay to say that it sucks? I wish it were different but then I remember that quote you sent me saying part of suffering is wishing things were different and thinking they should be different. Still I wish it for you and Sophie. At the same time Sophie had the best mother. The best. And you have your beautiful daughter in all her grace. But yes. Some days the hard things just suck. I'm sorry. I wish.

  5. God god. Why the foot? Why? Sending love.

  6. I'm with you, in my heart, through this all.

  7. If it matters, I read everything you write and hear everything you say and as much as I am able to, I get it. Sweet Jo

  8. Because your writing is what it is, I think I have some inkling of understanding, though of course I could never completely understand. Life does cycle on.

  9. Laughing is good...Hugs to you both.

  10. Such beautiful soulful writing dear friend that strikes such a chord in me.My perspective for what it is worth:

    Dragons and trees are very powerful symbols of transformation, particularly with regards to a spiritual awakening. I believe ? you have dreamed/thought of them before in a connection to your caregiving relationship with Sophie.

    Dragon energy is a powerful protector and presents itself to a select few…again usually to those who are seeking or experiencing a kind of spiritual enlightenment or searching for a new path to find it.

    Personally, I too have experienced dragon thoughts/dreams and have noticed the same to be true of several other parents of children diagnosed with special needs. I believe it is because the drama and trauma of our lives that speeds up the process of longing for connection with spirit. But that is a story for another time.

    These sightings/experiences usually come at time when we are most frightened (triggers if you will, for the need of spiritual guidance) They announce an upcoming awakening in you and perhaps a time when you will experience some great change that is frightening at first but necessary for your spiritual growth and desire for inner peace.

    Thoughts and sightings of dragons often indicate a need for bringing fun, joy, light, laughter, color, nature and most importantly LOVE into your life. It is a time to nurture your soul.

    Funny, isn’t it, how your Dad was able to give you exactly that.

  11. I'm sighing deeply in my knowing....



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