Seeing the Trees

It is wet and chilly outside and what I really want to do is pop in either a Harry Potter movie or all of the Jane Austen movies and finish knitting the spring scarf I started as we drove to Bloomington on Friday. Instead, there are things that need to be done today–some of which require what has finally  been provided: silence and time.

I have found myself more often than not turning the sounds off in the car as I make the commute to or from the city each day. It helps, but it also isn’t fully helpful. I get frustrated because the thoughts flow, but I don’t have the time or method of making sense of those thoughts. And then I get behind some driver who decides that the left lane is the social media lane and drifts between 55 and 85 while frustrating those of us who just want to push 73 on the cruise control and get there in a steady, meaningful manner. And when I get frustrated with such drivers, the quiet in the car becomes punctuated with language I must have learned from HBO. Yeah, that’s it.

This morning looms large for me; I hear the birds chirping as they cling to branches the wind is whipping about and, sitting still in my chair with a heating pad on an aching shoulder, I realize that that is who I have been for some time now–a chirping bird clinging to a moving branch.

And it took the quiet and the cat curled up at my feet for me to find this metaphor to help me move into what’s next. Do I inch my way closer to the trunk of the tree, where the branch moves not at all? Do I move with purpose toward the end of the branch, claws clenching even tighter with my beak to the wind? Or do I let go and take off, letting the wind lift me, but with the real possibility that the hard wind will batter me in to free fall or the current take me somewhere completely foreign–and thrilling. And scary?

This is an oblique post. I am at a crossroads–or, more likely as it is here in Valparaiso–a roundabout. I need to figure out if I keep going in the same circle, take the same exit, or see where the next one takes me.

It is scary here, in this branch, on this road. But I have seen where I have been–and most of it is good and, better yet, it has brought me here, where I am now. And here’s what else I just realized as I took a big drink of coffee and of thought: I’m not the only bird on this limb. I call it the “can’t see the trees for the forest” syndrome. Sometimes you really need to step out of the crowd to see how alone you are not. I need, sometimes, to step away from people in order to see the crowds that have brought me to this moment, to this time, to this good life full of richness of experience and love.

So many rich metaphors that say nothing at all, yeah?  Well, that’s how it has to be for the moment, as I continue to cling to this branch. But if you are reading this, let me say thank you, because you have brought me here, too.

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