I love my neighborhood for many reasons. One reason is the abundance of large trees. I like the shade, I like watching the leaves dance in the breeze, I like losing myself in wonder as I ponder the stories they could tell and the people who stared in awe at the trees before my arrival.
This may seem weird. I have spent a lot of thought and time figuring out what to name my oak tree. It was obvious to me that the tree is a “she” somehow, with her mighty strength, battle scars, and unpredictability. But, the one who names her ukulele, bunny who lives in the backyard, and the sideboard in the living room, probably names a tree or two.
Her name is Artemis. Artie, for short. Artemis was a Greek Goddess who was a fighter. She loved nature, animals, and children. She protected them fiercely, even at the expense of self. When I met Artie six years ago, she had a steel cable binding her together to keep her from falling apart. About four years ago, lightning struck and a large piece of her fell onto the corner of the house, coming in through my bedroom window. Since then, I sleep downstairs on the sofa when the storms come through. Over time, the steel cable has finally broken and many limbs have fallen to the ground. It was noticed after the two most recent storms that she now has a new split. Another battle scar has revealed itself. She is getting tired of carrying all that extra weight and burden. Aren’t we all? The problem with hanging on to things for so long is that little pieces of ourselves fall off and can damage life in their path. Sometimes, it is okay to take stock in our history and let the pieces fall off safely or at least control where they fall. There, I said it. That “c” word gets people all kinds of riled up. Or perhaps it just gets me all kinds of riled up. Just so you know, I’m not a control freak. I don’t need to control everything. I do like to know what’s going to happen next and make sure it is what should happen next. I like to call it: extreme helpfulness.
I am a professional overthinker. So, after running through every scenario possible, I must let some things go and Artie is one of those things. I really dislike the thought of taking down a fellow warrior. However, she is an unpredictable old lady and I prefer not to be crushed to death in my sleep. Sleep has come easier these days for me as I gain wisdom in age and continue to interpret life and love and joy and meaning and my deep longing for bread and cheese.
As the story goes, the Greek Goddess Artemis is immortal. So, Artie will survive as the stump lives on. Rest well, brave one. And I will, too.