I’m waking up at my daughter’s house this morning. This is a photo of a tree growing outside of her bedroom window. It’s beautiful and a little gnarly. It shelters her sanctuary in a home that has served as a blessing and a place of healing since she moved there a few years ago. She is in transition. Weeks away from packing up everything and moving. In a sense, she is going home, but the magnitude of change is no small thing.
As I look out the window at this tree, I am thinking that one day, in the not too distant future, it will no longer fit the role it now plays in providing shelter. It will outgrow this space and, left to itself, it will begin to cause harm to the home it now guards. Roots may disturb the foundation of the house and the deck in front of it. Its branches may reach into the newly shingled house and cause damage.
I wonder who planted it, and if they sometimes drive by this house and think about the memories they made here and realize they planted it too close to the front door. The day will come when it is time to cut it down. My daughter will have long since moved on and will call another place home. I don’t know who will look out this window at this tree and whether, in their eyes, it will look like shelter or just something blocking their view.
So, I honour it, this home, and my daughter’s journey, by pausing to admire a tree that links the past with the future growing in surroundings that are not necessarily conducive to good evergreen health. One day it will be gone. Those who walk past every day will forget about it. Neighbours will change and, one day, there will be no one left who remembers it.
The woman—my daughter—who lives in the house that this tree now shelters will have stepped into a new life. Perhaps she’ll keep the memory of this tree as a marker of an important stage in her journey that moved her forward.