“Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay a while.’
The light flows from their branches
And they call again, “It’s simple,’ they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light and to shine.”
When I am Amongst the Trees, Mary Oliver
I am about 10. We are on a long car journey, probably to France. I am looking out of the window trying to think of things that last forever and so far I haven’t managed to think of a single thing. It is unsettling. I turn over the tape in my Walkman and close my eyes, willing sleep to come.
I am acutely aware of the passing of time, of things slipping away from me. My youth, Eli’s dependence, Arlo’s babyhood, Jaxon, my Mum (who I am losing in slow, painful increments). I feel like I am drifting out to sea, far away from the familiar.
I am peeling away layers, the masks I put on to make myself more desirable, more likeable, more employable, shedding the parts of me that aren’t me and leaving them behind. I don’t know who will emerge once the shedding is over (if it is ever over?) but I am hoping she will be less afraid.
I wonder how I became so serious. I used to be fun, carefree. I used to laugh all the time. These days I laugh cautiously, distrustful of my own enjoyment, it always comes at a price.
I am learning to find joy in small things. Leaves glowing green in the morning sun, a conversation with Eli (who is wise beyond his years), the moment I lift the lid and see the bread has risen, trees waving in the wind, my Dad’s laughter, the sound of the waves, reading in the bath.
I love easily - a gift to treasure (not a weakness) Love is divine. Love is God.
I am no longer an atheist (truth is I never was) but I’m not a Christian either. I pray to the Universe, to the trees, to the sea, to the force that connects everything. I marvel at the similarities at the centre of our religions – surely not a coincidence? I believe my house has a spirit and that my Grandma is with me.
I am happiest in the Spring.