The growing top is only as good as a sturdy bottom. So goes the tree analogy and our evolving lives.
Invisible roots that hold the tree firmly is a family’s ancestors stories told again and again to young minds about folks they will never meet except through a worn black and white photograph.
It’s also the conversations secretly heard by junior ears wearing their “pj’s” in the living room corner as the “adults” converse and laugh. These green-leafed toddlers watch and absorb the tiniest of gestures; that quick wink from grandfather, mom’s tapping foot, the uncle who can’t seem to smoke enough and his wife who can’t seem to drink enough, the silent brother-in-law who married into this tree along with his wife who’s adding up the babysitting tally, the older brother who thinks he’s an adult but only seven years ahead of you, and your baby sister who either dances a few short steps or plays a simple piano ditty.
For better or worse, (aren’t those marriage vows who choose each other?!) they are the roots of your life as your small leaf increases in size and in color.
As a mother cannot leave her child, a tree cannot leave a leaf. The child must learn to leave mother as a leaf must fall from its tree. There is no other way nature meant it. The fallen leaf is adulthood and the mother waits for a telephone call from time to time. And, so it goes.
The super green leaf has adventure after adventure as its color slowly turns amber or brown or gray. This youthful leaf will soon become the ancestor talked about in the past tense.
Winds come from many directions and the discoloring leafs slowly form a circle around themselves. And there they stay, probably sharing stories of their adventures and how they earned the colors they now possess.
Is the circle a retirement home? Is the circle the Monday morning breakfast with like-minded retirees? Or is the circle of aging leafs just the natural rhythm of life. Some aging leafs are at one corner of my porch as I write this but in front of me is a large grouping of leafs that have been blown together.
I don’t know what to make of it but I love the image of tree, leaf and us.
And, so it goes?
Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on Amazon.com
“Soulful Muse,” reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Living Faith’s Mysteries,” reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Newest books include:
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up