Archive for September, 2008
Oh, to be without internet access in a have-it-all world! Forgive my silence this past week, we are having computer problems and a modem that doesn’t work for more than a minute at a time. It’s a great practice of Zen, I tell ya. Like Mr. Miyagi catching flies with chopsticks (yes, I’ve just Gen X’ed myself with that Karate Kid reference…).
I should be back soon, and in the meantime, enjoy the first official days of fall and be well…
There’s so much crazy stuff going on in the world, I’ve been almost paralyzed about what to write about. More wars, inane politics, bad TV, hurricanes and train crashes. I recall that during my last pregnancy, too, the ills of society seemed more pronounced and frightening. Bringing new life into these old problems certainly is a lot to think about.
Today, though, what saddened me most was closer to home. It was a tree. A beautiful, healthy, 20-year-old tree, which happens to be uprooting the foundation of our cozy townhouse. And the homeowner’s association failed to tell me a decision had been made to chop it down today.
So, I was sitting in my living room reading with my daughter this afternoon when I heard our windchimes rattle (though it was not windy) and a chainsaw start, right in front of my door. I rushed out to see three guys ready to go at our lovely tree (although I suppose it is not technically “ours,” sigh). I tried to argue, can’t we just trim the roots?, but to no avail. I called my husband at school upset (which I rarely ever do), and he sensitively told me that our house was in trouble if the tree did not go. He didn’t know they were doing it today, but he knew it was the tree or our house. He told me gently to take down the windchime hanging from the tree’s great branch and bring it inside, and let the men cut the tree down. He said he was so sorry and that he loved me.
I still argued, and I still cried. It seemed so awful to me to see a living, breathing, healthy tree get cut down because of our house. To see the spider webs and bird perches crash to the ground. To see the shade we’ve lounged in for three years disappear, leaving our front porch bare and unprotected. To watch the leaves my daughter and I lovingly sweep off our front sidewalk each week (yes, our cracked and uneven sidewalk from tree roots) hit the ground and get hauled off into trucks.
I cried, and I told my daughter why. I told her it was OK, so as not to panic her, but I let her see me cry about the loss of a beautiful tree. I told her I hoped we could get another one, one that would grow a different kind of roots. But I was still sad that the men chopped down our lovely tree. She cried with me for a moment, then asked if we could make play dough.
So, we made play dough as the chainsaws hacked away the rest of the tree and carted it away. We mixed flour and salt and oil and purple and yellow food coloring as the noise of motors and falling branches continued outside the kitchen window. We went on with our lives, did what we do, as workers killed the healthy, inconvenient tree in our yard.
It was like we do every day, really, go on with our comfortable lives as wars rage and women are beaten and people starve. We may see the horrors and lament them, but we still go on with what we do each morning, afternoon and evening. Can we be doing more? Of course. Should I have chained myself to the tree? Should I have argued more for another solution? I’m not really sure. Did I want to save my home? Of course, don’t we all? Isn’t that what all the fighting is supposedly for? Each of us feeling we deserve to live in a safe and comfortable home. And, yet, it still feels wrong, an unfair choice. The more powerful taking out the defenseless.
I’m not quite sure how to conclude this post — perhaps there is no real conclusion to be made here. But, the reality is that I will go on doing what I do, explaining to my daughter the best I can how to live compassionately and humanely. Show her by example that we can try to do what we can — volunteer at the phone banks for causes we believe in (next Saturday), give food to people who need it (Sundays), work to protect the Earth in small actions (every day). Tell her that we can do more, and try to. But still live each day happily enough to give her the security and confidence to go out and do more herself to help the world. And give her the good sense to cry about an old tree leaving us too early.
Is that enough? I hope so.
Had to share this photo on Jena Strong’s great blog. It took my breath away. Perhaps because I’m in the process of gestation, feeling from the inside what this shot shows from the outside. And perhaps, on a bigger scale, because it captures on film the miracle of our children actually growing inside our bodies.
It’s hard to remember I’m pregnant this time around. The first time we paid attention to every flutter and symptom, knew the days and weeks and time to go. This time, we are full of living with the child that came of that time, and I never know the answer to the question, “How far along are you?” (Um, like five months I think?) We are occupied and engaged, and the pregnancy thing isn’t so new. Some days, I feel badly that we aren’t paying more attention to it.
And, yet, the normalcy and calm I have with growing a person this time around is something to celebrate as well. I know enough to be thankful each day this pregnancy continues. I know enough to know that it will play out as it will, and I can just do my best to stay healthy and keep baby healthy. I know we will get the child we are meant to have in our lives, whenever we are meant to, and we will deal with the highs and lows and perfect moments and excruciating complications, whatever happens. I am much more at peace with things this time around, not so afraid of the unknown, not pushing so hard to get work circumstances to feel better or relationships to be smooth sailing every day, not trying to get things “in place” before some magic date.
Things actually feel pretty good. I feel pretty good. Even with the not so good. I’m pretty much just cruising along this time around (with the occasional maniacal meltdown, but, hey, hormones are hormones). And, for me, feeling generally cruisy is about as much of a miracle as this photo. Breathtaking.