Saturday, January 30, 2016

Trees and Straight Lines

I read an article, "German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too" this morning, and was so struck by this passage:

Stopping to consider a tree that rose up straight then curved like a question mark, Mr. Wohlleben said, however, that it was the untrained perspective of visitors he took on forest tours years ago to which he owed much insight.

“For a forester, this tree is ugly, because it is crooked, which means you can’t get very much money for the wood,” he said. “It really surprised me, walking through the forest, when people called a tree like this one beautiful. They said, ‘My life hasn’t always run in a straight line, either.’”

My life hasn't always run in a straight line, either. I can't stop thinking about it.

I spend a surprising amount of time trying to get our plants to grow straight. Roger does the hard work of keeping them alive, but I find myself turning them, tying their branches to stakes, trying to get them to just sit up straight and not keel over from the heavy personal weight of themselves.

I've been spending so much time inside lately. Roger's mother texted me this morning, "Remember, there's a big world out there." I was defensive. (I'm always defensive.) Of course I remember there's a world out there. If I'm anything, it's aware that things are going on without me. The party I wanted to go to tonight. All the ex-pat living I'd thought I would have done by now. All the poetry contests I know I should be sending my book to. The life-work of being in the woods, of being with friends, of reading books and playing cards, of existing beyond a screen.

I'll get to it. After this project, after the GREs. After the wedding and the baby shower and another wedding and then what? After spring, after summer. After grad school. I'll get to it. Life doesn't always run in a straight line.

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