I went for a walk in the evening sunshine with my camera. I didn’t think I’d find any pictures. The sun was setting and after an emotional yet positive day my thoughts were turned inward. I intended to have a short gentle walk down the paved road into the countryside as usual, but when I got to the first footpath sign I stopped and admired the young rape seed plants starting to sprout and the rock hard path shaped by endless dog walkers cutting through the field. For the first time in months I decided to walk down into the field. My camera was in my hand, but I didn’t think I’d use it. I knew the path and couldn’t think of anything of interest. Down the hill and over the foot bridge into the next field I noticed the sun, still fairly high, over an overgrown bush and took several unexciting pictures before heading past a boring looking tree and around the corner. Being out of shape, I stopped to catch my breath. Looking back over the way I’d come I saw a pleasant view with the two fields juxtaposed with three trees at various distances all the colours infused with the soft yellow light.
I was about to move on to finish my walk when I suddenly thought I’d try to take a closer shot of the nearest tree because from this side with the sunlight on it the boring tree looked sort of interesting. I’d never walked up that way before. I’d never thought to take a closer look at this tree. Once I was a few feet away I could finally see…at some point it had been struck by lighting or suffered horrific winds. The trunk had been split open. It’s tree-guts were exposed to the elements, but that storm hadn’t destroyed it. It was slightly bowed, but still standing…it’s numerous branches covered in reddish nobly buds of new growth. I thought, how lovely, took a few pictures and then turned to walk on when I had the feeling to go back and have a closer look. I’m so glad I did. It’s a beautiful tree. The damage must have made the tree’s existence difficult for several years, but even the dead wood (weathered and worm ridden) had developed a majesty and beauty. In that golden sunlight the tree it was a living work of art.
If I was a tree I’d want to be like this one; defying life’s lightening strikes and deadly winds with new growth every spring. The tree must have groaned in agony at the crippling blow, but did it lose a season of growth pondering its broken heart? No, it got on with being a tree. It blossomed. It grew new branches. It grew new strength. Standing close to that tree made me think of the seasons of my life I wasted moaning or complaining that I couldn’t create anything because my heart was broken. I wish instead of wasting energy moaning, I’d spent the energy being me (even if that meant standing still to admire the clouds or a pretty crack in the side walk). I’d never thought that a broken heart could become something beautiful. That the break could become a work of living art. Thank you Tree!