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Wednesday Wisdom: Everything Has a Life Span

November 10, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Nature Lovers, Tree-Huggers

Maple Trees By Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

An elderly neighbor walks gingerly up our hilly road daily pausing briefly to stare at lined 100-year-old maple trees on the edge of our property. One day he reminisced with us about walking up the road soon after the trees were planted. Now an 84-year old man still living in his childhood house, he appreciates them. These gorgeous old maple trees were part of the reason the house was so warming to me 31 years ago when we bought the old farmhouse since I grew up underneath similar trees in my childhood home.

Forest Gump Movie Image

In the movie Forest Gump, Forest’s wife Jenny is buried under an old tree they played on as children when she ran away from home due to sexual abuse. In the tree’s arms, she was safe and secure, happy and content, and wished never to return home. One of the last scenes in the award winning movie was the tree’s enormous breath hovering over the white tombstone protecting Jenny’s resting place forever.

I’ve had the same obsession and feeling about trees my entire life. Raised in a house dating back to 1792, in the historic town of Rome, New York, not long after Fort Stanwix was built and finished in 1762. Lining our long driveway were tall maple trees and my bedroom with its beautiful dormer window above my bed is where I stared at their branches before drifting off to sleep. My bedroom is also where I worried, the trees would be blown over in a thunder storm losing my natural friends.

Slowly one by one the six maple trees that adorned my adult home have cracked, split, lost their limbs, and blown apart by the elements. Watching parts of them slowly die over time, while rejoicing in their shade, changing colors, and protection from the snow, has been a gift. As my mom, a landscaper said to me, “Tracy, trees have life spans just like people do. You have to let them go when it is their time to go.” Today was that day for two of them.

Leaving the house with the loud buzzing of death ripping through my beautiful friends, I grabbed my bike and headed out to ride under another canopy of trees that line my favorite bicycle trail. For a fleeting moment, I was safe again under the branches of golden orange leaves on a cool November day realizing the leaves had been green earlier this year, but over time withered on the vine in blazing hues, before ending their lives on the bike path below. Yes, everything has a life span, especially in the Northern part of the USA when all four seasons are felt with deep conviction.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham Photography

But I realize and so must you, just like trees, we can’t stop time from aging us physically. Every day our bodies die just a little bit more (according to my medical son), just like the trees and seasonal plants. Roses don’t bloom in the winter. Daffodils don’t come up until the spring, and lightening bugs don’t shine bright until July. So, we must live each day and season of our life to its fullest realizing at some point, if we are lucky, when we are in our mid-eighties like my neighbor, we can look back and be happy watching the things and people we care about during the passage of time.

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