Love Made Visible
“Trees indeed have hearts.”
― Henry David Thoreau
Each morning this week I’ve crept outside to retrieve twenty to thirty tiny suns that have dropped overnight from my apricot tree. Wanting to not miss any part of this miracle, I’ve spent time working outside so I can hear those gentle thuds. To me they sound like a syncopated heartbeat. As soon as I clear off the kitchen decks, alchemizing the fruit into jams and butters, another batch is gathered in my apron to replace the one that came before it. The harvest will not wait and I am more than ready for it
Early into this waltz of fruit my heart leapt at the discovery of the sweet impression left by a soggy-bottomed apricot I picked off the kitchen table. Tears filled my eyes. Real tears, because this tree has meant so much to me. More than anything in my life this tree has been a touchstone, a cherished friend, and a sheltering presence for a heart broken by the death of my oldest friend and former life partner a few years ago. The moment I walked through the gate on Hickox Street and saw her for the first time it was love at first sight. I knew at once that somehow this tree would serve as a shelter for the unbearable grief that had descended upon me.
Some losses are unbearable. They cut to the quick and knock the stuffing right out of you. I have no idea what I would have done without the remarkable love of friends and the presence of a tree that has born witness to the pain and sorrow of the last three years. When grief is unbearable, we must allow strong and gentle souls to bear the pain alongside us. The only reason my grief has been bearable is through the gift of dear ones bearing witness to it.
I cannot explain why the losses I endured were so penetrating and heart-wrenching. I’ve no way of interpreting the smoke signals or why they lingered as long as they did. When grief visited like a hungry bear in the middle of the night, it devoured a part of me that I was certain would never return, and I was right. In grief’s wake the emptiness has gradually been replenished with fertile soil where adjacent roots have sought sustenance and new seeds are waking up. Love has planted these seeds. Love is what has watered them. Love is the only thing that has or ever could guide me and it is love made touchable through the impossible and miraculous effort of choosing myself over all else. Only love could bring me to this ripening on the bough where I can finally pick my own flesh off the branches and become the harvest I have longed for… for so long. In some ways I’ve been waiting my whole life for this discovery.
How is love made visible? I am still learning.
Photo Credits: My Apricot Tree Loves Me by Susan J. Preston, Santa Fe, NM © 2019, all rights reserved
Technical: iPhone 6s