It was windy last night and I couldn't sleep as I listened to the wind howling and the rain beating down on the patio.
This morning, I took the dog out and saw the fall out created by the wind...damaged apples littered the ground, leaves had been ripped from the trees before they were ready...and the one small, skeletal tree that stands alone and apart from all the others had succumbed to the wind too - it lay on its side, exposed, bare and defeated by the gusts.
So many thoughts about that tree followed me around the park this morning. It was already dead, as trees go - it hasn't had leaves at all for the last few years. And yet it represented so many things to me:
It was strikingly simple and beautiful and this beauty made it stand out from the other trees, especially when it snowed and when it created wonderfully crisp shadows at sunrise.
Even though it was different - it had no leaves, it bore no fruit or blossoms and it was smaller than the other trees in the park, it still had relevance.
It stood apart from the other trees - it was alone and yet played its part in the overall landscape of the park.
When I used to run around the park, back in my jogging days, it was one of my landmarks...a touchpoint to measure my achievements by...especially because it meant I was nearly home!
I had always intended to take a photo of 'the tree' on one of the many occasions when I noticed it being particularly awesome...but I never did. I was always going to do it next time...when I wasn't in a hurry...or when it was sunnier or warmer or drier.
I circled back this morning to take that picture but decided I didn't want the picture of it lying prone on the ground...and it really doesn't matter anyway. I have my memories of that tree, standing gloriously in its own quiet and understated way and they will stay with me long after the tree has gone.
So I simply thanked the tree as I walked past and reflected on how grateful I am to be surrounded by the beauty of nature and to be able to pause, just for a second, to really take it all in.