It Only Sleeps

12 Mar

It Only Sleeps

Not very attractive, is it?
It could be, and will be, when it’s shaped up and decides to look like the lovely oak tree that it is. Not wanting to chop on it here and there myself, I sent this same photo to a tree landscape specialist who answered my email in this way: Your tree is obviously dead. For $25 we will consult with you about removing it.
Dead? I don’t think so.
What he could not see at a distance in a photo are all the green shoots covering the barren looking limbs. My oak tree is ready to burst into new bloom. I can see it myself. I can see it because I stood close to it when I snapped the picture. I got close enough to see what’s really happening to my tree.
Too bad, isn’t it, that some of us make judgments at distances without getting close enough to see the green shoots of promise or hope or possibility? Making judgments at arm’s length about people or circumstances so often distorts reality and sends us off on twisted paths of fear or anger.
The budding life of my oak tree was affirmed the day I took this picture by two tiny objects that you cannot see in the picture. The very top of the tree is cropped off in the picture, but sitting on the delicate threads of branches at the top are two finches. They were singing their hearts out in that moment, probably telling the world that something new and wonderful is about to happen. New life is coming back into the old frame. Green shoots in the warm sun are about to unfold as lush, green leaves.
Stand close before you make up your mind. It is not dead…it only sleeps!
Sing on, birds!

2 Responses to “It Only Sleeps”

  1. Eric Carr March 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    This is a beautiful meditation, Roger. Conversely, though, I’m thinking of the times I sat too long in an unhealthy situation because I kept looking at all the new growth and potential up close, all the things that might happen if only ____, all the outcomes I was attached to, etc., never looking at the big picture where the thing was really diseased or dead, or had outlived its usefulness in my life. Thinking about all of those experiences (and how that’s been a pattern for me) gives me a deep appreciation for all the different perspectives and realities in situations like this. Close up and far away and everything in between may be valuable, and ultimately, the gift of discernment (in its myriad manifestations) is what helps us make sense when the close-up and far-away seem to tell us different stories.

    Your story is so beautiful, though, and I delight in the idea of those birds prophesying life to those shoots and buds. There is an ancient song we sing during the Tohono O’odham saguaro harvest in which we thank the doves for showing us when the harvest starts. The song talks about how the doves come and sniff the fruit, and then a few days later they start pecking at it, but it’s still not ready. Only when we observe the doves eating it and staying at a fruit to enjoy it’s sweetness, do we know that the fruit is ready to be picked, and so we thank the doves for showing us. It is a beautiful, sacred song, and a beautiful, sacred experience to hear it sung in honor of creation’s little prophets.

    • rpiercetuc March 12, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

      Thanks for your wonderful insight, Eric. Your comments are always so thoughtful. You’re right, being up too close can distort reality, also. There is such beauty in seeing the various shapes, directions, and textures of all the limbs…holding the focus to one branch or one bud misses the panoramic view. Works that way in life, too, doesn’t it.

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