There is a tree outside my bedroom window that marks the passage of time. It’s actually several trees, growing in a group, in my front yard.
I think these trees are only two kinds, though. I don’t know what kind they are as my knowledge of trees is limited to "I like trees". But the leaves of the ones in the forefront are small and "leaf shaped" and the ones in the back are larger and more rounded.
Anyway, I watch the tree (I’ll call it by the singular "tree" because that is how I think of it) in the mornings, as I slowly wake and contemplate the day in my head.
I don’t like to schedule anything in the mornings, work or otherwise, if I can help it. I hate the pressure of having to get up at a certain time. It makes me feel stressed statring from the night before and I think it interferes with the quality of my sleep.
That is not to say that I always get up late. It’s just that I feel more relaxed if I determine when to get up, not an appointment or the alarm clock.
So, the tree…I watch it from my bed through an uncovered arch above the long curtained windows in my second story bedroom.
I call it "my" bedroom even though I’m married, because my husband has recently decided to sleep in the guestroom. He claims the bed is more comfortable than ours and he also snores very loudly and knows this disturbs my rest
This is an amicable arrangement. We both sleep better and we "visit" each other frequently. He doesn’t know it yet, but I intend to make this a permanent arrangement. I quite enjoy having my own room. The solitude and peace it provides refreshes and nurtures me. After 26 years of marriage, a little "space" is no longer a threat to closeness, it just enhances it.
Back to the tree. It is now late summer, almost fall, and the leaves of my tree have already started to thin out. The leaves in the back (the rounded ones) wiggle and twinkle when the wind blows. The longish ones sort of move up and down with the branch. These leaves don’t move, the branch does. They remind me of the kind of people who always act as a group. They do what’s expected.
I love the "twinklly" ones. The sky pokes through and the light adds to their movement. Sometimes I think I can hear them, and they sound like wind chimes. They are the "individualists", the ones who make life interesting. You never know which way they will twirl and flutter, and watching them brings me joy.
In the summer (my least favorite season) I don’t notice the difference between the two types of leaves, nor can I enjoy the wiggling and twinkling. The leaves are so lush and full at that time that they all move in a giant clump. You can’t even see the sky, they are so thick.
I hate summer. It’s hot. It’s sticky. It has bugs. The days are long and move like molasses.
The thought of summer coming is depressing.
There’s one exception. I look forward to early summer, as we usually plan a family trip to the beach. I love being with my family and friends that come along. We rent a house or condo and spend a week being lazy. We play board games at night and sit under big umbrellas on the seashore during the day. Early in the summer the wind still blows slightly cool and the water is not always welcoming, but I like it for these reasons.
My favorite part is evening walks along the beach. The beauty of the water and the dying day along with my husband’s hand in mine are enough to carry me though the rest of the year.
The tree in early fall is better yet. The leaves are even thinner and so more twinklly. And soon the colors will intensify and fall will be here in earnest. A long stretch of cool and cold weather approaches.
I love cold on my skin. It invigorates me. And I love to dress for cooler weather
The older I get the more I hate summer clothes. All that exposed white skin… I don’t tan much, even if I try. And the process requires heat and sweat (yuck!). I do love sandals though, shoes of all types really. So I guess summer has some redeeming qualities…
But fall and winter clothes, I truly love them. A tailored jacket, pointy boots, ribbed turtle necks!!!! They are at the same time concealing and sexy. A fashion oxymoron, you’ve gotta love that!
Winter. The tree is bare. The sky is in full view. I can tell at a glace what kind of day it will be. I don’t miss the leaves; I know they’ll be back soon enough.
Last winter, a dead, brown, crumply leaf hung on to a branch of the front of the tree. I became obsessed with it. I woke every morning and looked toward the tree expecting the dead leaf to have fallen. I watched as the wind blew the branch around. I watched as rain pummeled it. I thought of the O’Henry story and wondered if someone would die when the leaf finally fell.
Spring came and new leaves sprouted and joined the dead one. Soon the tree was once again full and lush. Was the dead leaf still there among the new ones but covered from my sight? I’d like to think so.