It’s everywhere you look. In different sizes, shapes and forms. And you can’t avoid it no matter how hard you try. Aging. From the ground up, it is a part of life. In itself it is almost as constant a thing as the breath that makes life a reality. It happens to everyone in different ways and different times.
Today was another beautiful late summer day in Wisconsin. The blue sky harbored a gentle breeze that kept the 70-degree weather in an absolutely perfect balance of comfort. In my backyard paradise birds chirped, the wind chimes jingled, and the sun shone brightly. In more ways than one. Mom and Carter were glowing today as they played together in the grass. Pure unadulterated joy has a way of doing that to people, I’ve noticed. So there we were enjoying the perfection of the afternoon when I noticed something that made my heart skip a beat.
I’m not sure how I’ve missed it this long. It’s probably glaringly obvious to visitors to my forever home, but since I see it every day it was lost on me. Until today. Today I noticed that my dear Tom seems to be dying. Tom is a good friend of mine otherwise known as my favorite tree in the backyard. He was there for me when I was new here. He stood by when I got into my barking arguments with Demon Dog. He provides shade for moments like today when mom and Carter play in the grass. And he is dying.
I don’t know how I missed that about three quarters of his branches have gone bristle dry at some point. There are some branches with leaves on it still, but they are few and far between. I hate to think of what is going to happen to him when those branches go dry too.
As I reflected on this in the gorgeous afternoon sun today I found my heart turning to dear baby Carter. He is still so young, and yet seems to be growing up so fast. And mom, who has blossomed from a young adult into a woman before my eyes in the last few years. And me, as I approach canine middle age.
Aging. From the ground up, it is everywhere you look. It happens to everything and everyone at different times in different ways. But as true and beautiful as Tom’s remaining branches are, I know in my heart this part of life is another chapter just as valuable as all the chapters before it. And, like most things, the tree of life is only as beautiful as we believe it to be.
So you might call me a tree hugger, but I’m okay with that. Because to me life is a pretty beautiful thing.