Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Standing

Notice the difference between the leaves at the bottom
of the tree and those at the crown.
I was sitting on the back deck a few days ago, reveling in the lower-than-usual humidity and the thanks-be-to-God cooler temperature when I noticed it. A tree that had, for most of the summer, looked like it was on death's door had produced a new crop of leaves in its crown, a long way from the ground. I grabbed the binoculars from my blue table just to confirm that my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. Trees don't produce new leaves in August, do they?

To this point, there had been no evidence whatsoever, and really more to the contrary, that anything productive was going on. The tree had stood there silently all summer, giving me no indication that anything of this magnitude was happening. In fact, its spring leaves shriveled and browned as they hung there, lank.

This summer my life has, in many ways, looked like that tree. I haven't written anything since June, even though my mind has been awhirl (the first week of July just about sent me over the edge). The days just kept whizzing by and I couldn't keep a thought in my head long enough to ponder it, let alone ruminate on it for anyone else's benefit.

It has appeared as though nothing of consequence has been transpiring.

There was unseen industry going on inside that tree, although I'm not sure the tree really had much say in the resulting leaves. It did what trees do--it stood with its face to the sun and drew nutrients and water from its roots. Without those, no amount of will or desire could've made anything happen.

Like that tree, I've done all I knew to do: stand. No amount of understanding, processing, and analyzing made anything happen. All I could comprehend was that those efforts were a futile waste of resources, a squandering of "nutrients" and "water" that was being drawn by Someone other than me from somewhere deep inside me to perform a work I couldn't even envision. I struggled mightily with the lack of productivity, but I couldn't do anything else.

I'm still not sure if any leaves have appeared (could you check my backside?) or are going to appear. But I'm realizing it's not my job to forecast the results. It's my job to stand.

What has your summer been like? I'd love to hear about it!