Being a tree

Today I shared my walk with a steady downpour of small ice pellets. The hail was nothing to me, I barely felt it, but for three miles I watched it hit the pavement, bounce or roll, and disappear into waiting pools of water or the black heat of the path itself. I looked up at the clouds and tried to estimate how long a lifespan those pellets had—how long had it taken them to drop from the cloud to the ground. A minute maybe? Two at most. A short lifespan, but I'm sure they were the best ice pellets they could be during that lifetime. They had nothing to be ashamed of.

I looked too at the trees and wondered if this quickly shifting spring weather, from sunny and 70 to 23 and snowing, was hard on them. Did they wish, like me that the weather would settle down and just be something—anything? No, that's anthropomorphizing, and though I do it all the time I didn't want to think of the trees that way. They're too majestic to be treated as mere mortals.

Unlike us humans who trot off busily to whatever distraction occupies us, the trees stand still. They are as permanent as a living thing can be. Trees can't hitch up their boughs and run away on their scraggly roots. They're stuck with whatever comes: sun, snow, wind, hail, lightening, locusts, fire. The trees take it. They suck it up. They stand there through whatever lifespan they're given and are the best tree they can be. Trees are the essence of being.

It would surely serve us better if we could be more treelike. If we could think of ourselves less as busy, successful, coping human doings and more—just occasionally—as human beings. If we could just stop. And be. Occasionally. Just be.