We can learn a lot from trees. I first realized this after visiting the Survivor Tree at Ground Zero — and now, in the wake of Sandy, trees continue to teach me.
Take a look at this one. It’s a Bradford Pear — or, rather, what’s left of a Bradford Pear.
It was planted years ago, along with two others, by a local business interested in prettying up a very busy street corner. I remember when they were all planted. I was thrilled — at last, a business was taking an interest in beautifying the community.
Besides, at the time, the Bradford Pear was the tree of the moment, planted by towns and homeowners because of its flowering beauty, graceful shape, and instant shade ability. Their abundance in the landscape — both public and private — turned spring into a flowering tree extravaganza.
The trees planted by this business did what they were expected to do — especially on hot summer days when residents huddled under their cool shade while waiting for the public bus.
But one by one, the trees have disappeared. One was badly damaged after being hit by a car. A second came down in a storm. Now, this is the sole survivor, and I know the story of each of its missing limbs — as if I am telling the tales of the scars on my own body.
What a difference a day makes. Twenty-four hours after Sandy, the air is cool and crisp, the sky crystal clear, and the moon full and bright. In fact, this full moon photo, as well as some scary and festive decoration photos, was my plan for a Wordless Wednesday Halloween post. Now, most of those decorations are blown away or are tangled in branches, and the crisp moon now illustrates how much can change in a day.
First, let me say that I loathe snow. My loathing is contingent upon the depth of said white stuff. The deeper it gets, the loathier I get. While the weather forecasters have reminded us of this year’s snow deficit, that is of little consolation to me.
I dislike dressing in layer upon layer just to go outside to get the mail. The cardiologist has given me strict orders to not even think of shoveling this marshmallow world. And here on Long Island, we are very often on the cusp of snow and water, which means that a snowy day results in a super-sized slushy. So, let me say that I will not powder this post with words like fluffy and blanket and sugar. This will not be an ode to snow.
That, at least, is my first reaction when I see snow. It isn’t until I really look at snow that I can embrace its wonder, how it blows and drifts and catches on branches. Snow, I think, makes me appreciate evergreens more than ever.
My window of awe is a brief one, and this is my moment to enjoy winter white.