If you've been visiting with me for even a short time, you know how much I appreciate the turning of the seasons and the beauty of the countryside we live in. My relationship with the natural world has deepened over the last few months, and I have experienced a level of synchronicity that happens when our eyes are truly open.
When my grandmother was a young mother she planted a magnolia tree outside of her kitchen window. She watched it grow and change throughout the years as she washed the dishes and cooked for her family. When my in-laws wanted to give us a tree for our 5th wedding anniversary, I asked if we could pick out a magnolia. My grandparent's long and successful marriage was an inspiration. I hoped that planting a magnolia tree outside of our kitchen window would bring us the same happiness. My husband and I planted it with the help of our three year old son and watched it grow as the seasons changed. I don't get to see my grandmother as often as I'd like to, but her spirit has stayed close by in the magnolia tree outside my kitchen window... she's always just a glance away.
Each year our anniversary tree has blossomed on Earth Day. This year was different. The spring of 2012 was a strange and tumultuous one for me and for the Northeast. A mild March brought early blooms, and on the very day that my husband moved out, our tree was crowned in a riot of pink blossoms. I photographed them in wonder. Life was utterly surreal for my family, why not our tree? That night... our first night alone... the temperatures plummeted and a hard frost killed all of the new blossoms on the early Magnolias throughout our entire village. Limp, brown and wilted our tree seemed to be echoing my heart. Over the next month, as we learned how to find our footing, green life began to emerge from underneath the rotted magnolia flowers. On Earth Day, I marveled at how different our tree looked this year...and at how broken I felt our family was. And on that night, as we slept, a freak snow storm piled 6 heavy wet inches on everything in site. Never had we had such a late snow... a snow day so close to May was unheard of. My children unpacked our snow clothes and we went out to investigate. I didn't see it first. My daughter did. "Is it dead?" The magnolia was flattened under piles. When the snow melted we discovered that our tree was most definitely alive, but the center trunk had split down the middle and each side had been sheered off in opposite directions. The center of the tree was gone and had been taken down a few inches, but it was still standing. I realized that even though I felt ripped apart, my core was still in tact, and I would survive stronger then ever before. I was still standing just like our magnolia tree.
At times of crisis our awareness is heightened as we search for meaning and understanding. Sometimes the deepest wisdom is revealed by remaining open to unexpected guides and signposts within nature. I found it right in front of me in the form a tree that mirrored my experience.