Tree Memories

I have always loved trees. Not only are they beautiful, but they also provide refreshing shade. Though all are important in their way, some stand out above the rest.

Several specific trees from my childhood come to mind. A large tree near my grandma’s house had a basketball goal attached. I spent hours under its shade shooting hoops with my cousins. It provided family fun and a sense of security.

A lovely mimosa tree graced my parents’ front yard. With pink, feathery flowers, it made the perfect picture backdrop. I can see me now, standing nearby in my Easter dress holding my little woven basket.

We closed on the sale of our house today. This afternoon, I had one last visit with one very special tree. This tree watched over our backyard for the past sixteen years.

Our family took advantage of this picture-perfect spot many times. Easter, Mother’s Day, proms, graduations. Even those ”just for the fun of it” pics with the kids sitting up on the branches.

Today, I snapped one last picture. But this time, the tree was my only subject. Standing tall and proud, the sun shone through its branches. Inside my head, I whispered, ”Thank you.” As the wind rustled its leaves, I imagined a whisper back, “You’re welcome.”

Look Up!

In my childhood experience, brown, spiky pinecones equaled crafts. Searches for them were fun. Walking around outside, I looked for ones of various sizes. Once enough were collected, the possibilities were endless.

They could be painted and used to create cool prints. Add some glue and glitter, and it was a Christmas tree ornament. Quite often they were slathered in peanut butter and rolled in seeds. Voila! A tasty treat to hang outside for the birds.

When I think back to collecting these interesting pieces of nature, I don’t remember ever looking up. I knew they came from those tall, towering trees. But gave little thought to what they looked like before hitting the ground.

As I sat on the deck outside our Colorado cabin enjoying the cool morning breeze, I happened to look up. Near the top of one of the pines, I noticed bunches of green pinecones. Their color created a sort of camouflage among the pine needles. Hanging on until it was time to fall.

I honestly hadn’t noticed this before. I’m glad that morning was different. It reminded me that my focus is often is singular. Only looking for that one thing I want to look for.

Perhaps I should look up more often. There is so much more to life than what is right in front of me. New challenges and possibilities are all around.

But what if trying something new leads to a fall, and just like those pinecones, I land on that bed of pine needles below? That is ok. I can look up, remember where I started, and know there is still plenty for me to do. The possibilities are endless!

Rainbow in the mountains!

No Signal

Living in this age of technology, the words “no signal” are usually unwelcome. They mean no calls, texts, posts, emails. There is no way to know what’s happening in the world, at least not quickly.

I spent last week in a place with no signal. The choice was intentional. Gart, Rachel, Ryan, and I vacationed in the mountains of Colorado. Our cabin was in the middle of Chalk Creek Canyon.

We talked, laughed, played card games. We also spent time fishing and hiking. Each of us enjoyed this place in our way.

I listened to the rushing mountain stream behind our cabin. Smelled the fresh scent of pine trees towering all around. Intently observed the creatures who inhabit the surroundings.

As I sat on the front porch, hummingbirds hovered at bright red feeders sipping the sugar water. They perched on tree branches for a brief moment. And just as quickly, they flew away.

Chipmunks were the next to arrive on the scene. They chased each other around the trees. Poking their heads up from behind the rocks, they scouted out the situation. “Yes, there are people here. But I think it’s safe. They’ve got food!”

All of these sights and sounds brought peace. There were no distractions, no to-do lists, no world news tonight. These few days in the mountains provided much-needed time away to rest and recharge.

Today we are driving home. There are only a few weeks of summer remaining. It is time to prepare for the upcoming school year. This week I will begin planning, setting up my classroom, and attending meetings.

I am ready to be plugged in and connected. Ready to greet a new school year. Ready, thanks to a few days of quiet in the mountains with no signal.

Continue reading “No Signal”

Mountain Morning

The mountain stands strong

In my sightline

Majestic, unmoved

Its chalky cliffs

Warmed by the sun’s rays

Clouds drift slowly by

Gracing the mountain peaks

Persuading no response

They continue their journey

Across blue skies

Trees sway, leaves flutter

Moved by a gentle breeze

Water rushes over rocks

As mountain streams

Travel to the valley below

Humming birds chatter

Flitting back and forth, up and down

Hovering, they sip red nectar

Perching only a moment

On pine branches

Chipmunks scurry

Over smooth stones

Across pine needle beds

Cautiously approaching

Searching for seeds

I sit-motionless

A quiet observer

Hopelessly searching for words

Adequate to capture the beauty

Of this peaceful mountain morning

My Favorite Color is…

I recently purchased a new phone. Of course, one of the first things to do with a new phone is choosing the wallpaper. I enjoy seeing a personal pic of some kind when opening my phone. With more than 7,000, I have plenty to choose from.

I chose a nature scene. Bright blue sky, billowy white clouds, and dark green trees now grace my home screen. As I opened my phone this morning, the combination of colors in this particular pic caught my eye. Blue, green, and white complimenting each other to create a beautiful image.

If asked about my favorite color, I always choose blue. I can’t remember ever having a different answer. Something about my current age, tendency to be reflective I suppose, made me stop to ponder.

Strangely enough, this particular picture provided some insight. The patch of clear blue sky by itself is beautiful. However, when seen in contrast with fluffy white clouds and green trees, it is transformed. Its beauty is magnified. And it is not a matter of comparison. It is a matter of compliment.

Kind of like people, you know? We may each be someone’s favorite. Favorite teacher, friend, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. But that doesn’t mean we simply stand alone, happy to be the chosen. No, we celebrate the need to exist in compliment. In other words, I can’t be the favorite aunt without loving my sweet nieces. 😉

I will always have favorite people in my life, and blue will continue to be my favorite color. But hopefully, I will remember to truly see all the people around me.

We all have a purpose, a place of belonging. And just like the colors in my photo, we have the power to bring out the best in each other. When given a chance.

The Lonely Wind

Some days, quiet
Remaining unnoticed
Content simply to whisper
Other days, turbulent
Disruptive, unsettling
Causing all in my path to shiver

Swaying the trees
Spinning the leaves
Singing my blustery song
Clouds in the sky
I'm moving them, too
Remaining, as always, headstrong

Creating my path
Traveling alone
Yet, never really going away
Though effects linger
Remaining unseen
Maybe you'll notice one day
Poppy is ready for take-off!