Monday, February 10, 2020

Things I've learned from trees

It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses we must plant more trees. 
-George Eliot

Today is Tu b'Shvat (the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat) - the day the State of Israel and those who support and love her honor trees.

There are reasons we honor trees. They contribute to the environment. They beautify spaces. They shade and cool. They give selflessly.

The Almond Trees are Blooming
Here are some other things we can learn from trees:

1. They stand tall, but bend with the wind.
I'm pretty short. My father, may his memory be a blessing, used to tell me: it doesn't matter how short you are; make people look up to you. 
I try.

2. Trees get rid of the old stuff that they no longer need to have energy and room for the new.
Every year, around this time, I start to clean out my stuff. I have never gotten very far, mostly because I'm way lazy. I claim I have no emotional attachment over the stuff in the house, and I can throw out stuff any time I want. I just choose to keep it. This includes 18 years of back copies of children's magazines, broken crayons, used notebooks, a torn tent, and drawings the kids made in kindergarten. (Well, obviously those I can't throw out.) I'll do it, I promise. I'll start tomorrow.  The new generation - k'nein'a'hora - is growing steadily despite the clutter. 

3. Trees never complain about their neighbors.
On both sides of our house, we have noisy neighbors. Not good noisy. Not joyous, happy, playing outside neighbors. We have neighbors - on both sides! - who scream at each other. The kids yell at the parents, the parents call their kids names. It makes me profoundly grateful for my kids and husband - even when they leave three noodles in a huge container and put it back in the fridge.

4. They don't complain about the position they are in either.
I dislike my job. But my colleagues love me. Mostly because everyone thinks I'm hilarious. But at least I have a job. Things could always be worse. They could implement a mandatory shoe-wearing policy (my Department, not trees - trees don't have to wear shoes, another thing we can learn from them).

5. Trees keep growing, even when they are on their own.

While Buffy the Vampire Slayer calls me to watch her antics (yet again), I have been known to learn things. Did you know that vampires don't actually burn up in the daylight. It's just a myth.

6. Change can be beautiful.
These days, my life is changing in ways that terrify me.
I find myself technologically illiterate. I was always the one who knew how to program the VCR, and put the timer on the microwave; now I'm lost in the world of uploads and swipes. While I fell in love with emails and Facebook (oh, mom, you're so 2005!), I cannot master Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, and I HATE Instagram.
The kids have grown up, leaving me far behind.
That's also mostly because I am moving more slowly. It takes me a little longer to wash the floor, to bend and hang the laundry, to get up from a chair. I don't stop to listen to the birds sing so much anymore, as I stop to listen to my bones creak and squeak.
On the other hand,
I don't have to get hoards of kids out the door in the morning, allowing me to spend an extra few minutes in bed.
I sleep through the night (sometimes - at least in theory)
I have my own computer and don't have to share.
Nobody bugs me when I watch TV. I can eat the last cookie or piece of shnitzel without anyone telling me that they were saving it for lunch tomorrow.

7. Just by being, the world is a better place.
Always remember. And remind others.

Happy Birthday trees!!! And thanks. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I loved to read what you've learned from trees. Thank you!
I myself have always thought that there is nobody I cannot learn something from. (Obviously, what I need to learn now is how not to dangle participles.....)
I am hugely enjoying the many different trees in my new habitat, Modi'in, especially the tall, thin, stately (all the things I am not) cypress trees outside my bedroom window. In the wind, they sway and dance to endless fascination.