The first tree I fell in love with was a southern magnolia. That tree, as I recall, was absolutely huge – with low lying branches where a little girl could sit, sheltered from the Texas heat. In the spring it produced giant, fragrant blossoms – larger than my hands – that gave off the most heavenly scent imaginable. My mother used to put the blooms in bowls of water around the house so that the rooms would fill with the smell of magnolia.
When I moved to New England for college, I was completely blown away by my first fall sugar maple. You see, there are no sugar maples in Texas . . . little did I know that such a glorious tree even existed. I wrote long letters to everyone I knew (this was pre-email, you know) saying, “You can’t believe the trees up here!”
And now, I still love trees. I love them for many reasons but in particular, because they model for me how to ‘transition with grace’. I watch the maple outside my office window drop leaves effortlessly in the autumn, ungrudgingly display her bare branches in the winter, graciously sprout new leaves in the spring, and without reserve spread her green foliage in the summer. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t feel like a victim, isn’t resentful and doesn’t whine about each new season’s demands.
These blogs are my reflections on change and our transitions. Let’s face it: transitions can be extremely painful, difficult, and confusing. Few of us face them as graciously as a tree faces its natural rhythm of change. But we can learn . . . we can keep growing through every transition . . . and we can take the tree’s cue. We can remember that the end of one cycle is always the beginning of another.
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