Living Like Trees
Some readers like it when I'm battling dragons, and some readers like it when I'm feeling mystical. Frankly, the sword-swinging gets tiresome. The pondering of ducks and sprouting crocuses is boring, it's true. But it doesn't make you want to go kill yourself.

When I get fed-up, like I am right now, feeling all werewolfed out and sick of everything--sick of Chicago, sick of winter, sick of public appearances, sick of the border, sick of writing, sick of O'Bama and Clinton and McCain, sick of American Idol and driving and eating and coffee, sick of UIC, sick of this blog--I draw great calm from the brooding and eerie giants that stand around my house beding their heads as if listening to our dreams. The trees. The huge old oak in front, the weary pine beside our library, the great maples in the back, and the insanely optimistic white-bark birch. Like my beloved Yeoman Warder at The Tower of London, when things get too crazy, the trees seem to say: "Steady on!"

In his classic book, The Trail Home, John Daniel has a beautiful passage. Those of you who get into the mystical putterer will dig it. The sword-fighters will probably hope I'll find some racists and orcs to engage in battle. But I have no battle. I am eating an apple and petting the cat and looking at that birch. It's trying to tell me something.

Here's the passage:

"If we didn't hide our histories inside us, we'd see our own lives as we see the trees. We'd see how some of us rise true and easily, how some are bent or split from their beginnings. We'd see where we were chafed or broken, where love failed or never was, where love returned. We'd see where troubles beset us, how we bent and twisted beneath their weight, how we've grown as we've been able to grow and never have stopped growing, branching from the single source, how in our bodies' heaviness we touch the air and tremble--how each of us, in one peculiar unlikely way, rises in the light."

Maybe, after all, that is for the sword-fighters more than the mystics.

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