the winded root.

the-absenceFebruary 16, 2017

The root’s hunched back betrayed the nursing of the ground from which it sprang.  It had not grayed from exposure.  The rain and sun had varnished it to the softened, worn polish of tanned leather cowboy boots.  It could have been part of a grand piece of furniture had it been properly stained, but like those boots, it was made to live wildly on the side of this cliff.  I could not trace where among stones above my head it arose nor could I estimate how far it tunneled beneath the slope, now at a tapping point six feet behind me and equally distant below me.  I studied it, wondering the time a tree artery could actually be living in such a state.  It had not died, but withstood the constant tugs of winds and weather and animals which surely must have rested under its umbrella arm.  The gap between root and ground was wide enough for me to wiggle through, but not without scratches.

I looked up the slope, (the cliff, Steph, it is a cliff), imagining it covered in snow with perfect moguls of fluff and grooves for speed.  Terrifying fun on skis.  My eyes tracked up and down, tracing and retracing what it would have been like, tearing down, with the unpracticed grace and daredevil only possible with the skied legs of youth.

I looked up again at the patience of my tree, waiting, after all this time, for what, I did not know.  For me?  I did not think so, but I imagined so. For birds?  Well, that is what trees do.  They flower leaves of green and they grow.  And then they sleep.  They wait.  They stand.  I wondered how old the tree was, as I laid my hand upon its rooted arm.  The grain of its wood, like veins from an exercised arm, flowed from where it popped out of the ground, under my fingers, past me, then returned into the ground.  I wondered if its fingertips ran to the orchard trees, the soldiered scrub oaks with whose tops I was now at eye level.

All around me, there was so much to feel, so much to take in, so much.  I moved my hand away from the dirt, away from the ground, to lay it upon the root.  I realized I did not need to crawl in the mud, although I could and I did not mind it.  I did not need to claw or grasp tightly or cling.  Somehow the fact that I could stand on a cliff-like slope full of stones and edges and mudslicks seemed rather confusing, challenging my simpleton understanding of physics, laws of gravity and elementary common sense. I tested the ground for firmness by gently tapping my toes until I was hopping in an unceasing crescendo.  I was the ‘Fool on the Hill.”  But the slope never gave way.  Somehow I could not get over that I was indeed standing upright, glancing up the slope then down, up to the sky then back to the grounded oaks.  I focused back and forth, distance across the field grasses then up to the tree like a child waiting for the parental nod of approval.

But there I was, standing, hand over hand, walking, foot after foot, up the side.  I smiled up at where I was going, then looked back at where I had been.  I was now slightly above the trees, at an even level with the top of the bank of the other side.  The field grasses waved.  The forest was only an outline of black between those grasses and the blue sky.

It was quite ordinary and plain, yet full and stunning like crispness of fresh green beans, the taste of sun and the odor of water and fresh air.  And yet there was not a touch of green anywhere.

Then the Wind came.

I love the Wind, the spirit of the earth’s own device in the wind of seasons and change, the lullabies of air pressure and clouds and earth – the reminder of forces and energies..

But at this moment I did not want to feel wind.  I had enough to contend with, I thought.  I was grateful for my balance.  I was grateful for being ‘right here, right now’.  I was grateful for feeling gratitude.  But that is the beauty of Wind.  It comes because it comes, not because I want or do not want.  It comes because it must in a duty only it knows, according to dictated orders only it can hear.  The spirit of wind..

The sun was the marvelous sun of warmth, of spring’s promise.  And this Wind was the reminder of cold.  If there had been snow it would have been a blizzard.  But there was no snow, no rain, but the sun kept shining.  I could have ducked into the side of the cliff, between the tree’s arm and the ground.  I could have tucked myself out of the Wind.  But I only guarded my eyes.  I had crawled through field grasses and navigated through the terrors of the woods.  If I could stand, even if it was on the face of a cliff, why would I not stand?

I could either keep walking or I could duck away.  I would be colder walking.  I would be warmer if I stopped.


I looked to see the orchard trees to see if this Wind would tear them apart.  No, they were protected, only slightly twisting and only their fingers rattling slightly.  It was then that I realized they had been planted;  they had been an orchard.  They had been part of a garden that I could only get an idea of.  It was all that had remained.  The idea of the garden.    Someone had once tended to them.

It was nice looking back, looking at the trees and how we had danced.  I placed my left hand further up the root.  I side stepped, not believing yet I could possibly walk up the cliff.  After all my mini-calculations and the most bizarre set of tests, I still did not just walk.  I still doubted.

The Wind kept on with the force of winter, stinging and biting at my face.  But I did not turn away.

I smiled, turned to face the cliff, placed my right hand upon the root and took my fourth step up.

Happy love to you all.


#wind #paradox #truthofthegarden #thebrickdandelion #imjustme #thebeautifuljourney


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