Monday, October 15, 2007

So Say the Trees

by Troy Chapman

It’s my favorite time of year as the earth prepares for winter here in the north. The skies are grey, the pumpkins are out and the trees are talking in bright colors about circles and cycles. They tell me to look at my life and ask if it’s time to let go of anything.

This morning I woke with my old familiar free-floating shame and self-abusing dialog. It roved about my mind looking for some action or comment to attach itself to, anything to condemn me with. I thought about the work we’re doing to ask for my release from prison. Where does this self-condemnation fit into the journey ahead? Will it help me serve life? Will it help me be a more beneficial presence as I move forward?

The wind has been blowing and rattling the maples and bright orange leaves are jumping from the trees to ride the wind away, their purpose served. Rain has been falling on the white ash and in the morning they each have a big circle of slim yellow leaves at their base. They stand there skeletally, willing to be in between what they’ve been and what they’re becoming.

They tell me this takes courage, that we too often fail to grow because we’re afraid of being in between, and we hang on to old leaves.

And as they speak, the wind comes and the inner dialog of tearing myself down rides it away. The rain comes — good, cold autumn rain — and I find myself stepping out of a circle of stuff I no longer need, ready to be in between for awhile. In between who I’ve been and who I’ll be later. In between what worked for awhile or served its purpose but is no longer helpful. In between comforts, familiarities. It’s a good time for being in between, for getting ready to move to another place on the circle.

So say the trees and the squirrels agree. They’ve dropped their summer playfulness and have become very serious in their gathering and storing and watching the sky. So say the seagulls as they begin disappearing for long stretches, heading back to their islands and one of the big lakes where I think they spend their winters. Even the skunk that’s been squeezing under the fence and sniffing its way to the dumpster out behind the kitchen every morning concurs. Where do skunks go in the winter, by the way? I don’t remember seeing them and can’t imagine nature leaving that black target out on a blanket of white, despite the good defense of their spray.

Anyway, they’re all talking and I’m listening.

Painting by Troy Chapman


Anonymous said...

This post hits me in a deep place because I've been feeling very afraid of the changes coming in my life. What you wrote gives me some comfort that I can rest for a moment in this in-between place and ask myself what strengths or weaknesses will help in the next phase. No need to panic. Just rest and assess.

Rich Wilhelm said...

Yes, I can relate to this as well, as we are transitioning from being a two-working-parent family to a one-working-parent family. Right now I do feel like I'm in a place that is neither here nor there, but I'm working on being OK with that.