CREATIVE NON-FICTION | SPIRITUAL GROWTH | KNOW THYSELF HEAL THYSELF

Tree Transitions

From one so mournful to one so majestic

Photo by Veronika Bykovich on Unsplash
Photo by Jonnelle Yankovich on Unsplash

I grew up a Weeping Willow tree with drooping tentacle-like branches and mournful wispy leaves. My kind were everywhere in the southwestern part of Virginia where I attached my roots. I figured I would always be this weeping, fragile tree with only one remarkable distinction — I could bend with the wind. This made me resilient enough so that I could weather the many storms that would be my youth.

Once, my roots stretched all the way to Georgia and there I discovered a distant kin — a Magnolia tree. With her shiny polished leaves and her delicately scented blossoms, I fell madly in love. I too wanted to be a Magnolia tree!

Could I change from seasonal to forever green? Could I be as deeply rooted and sturdy? And did I have enough beauty within to show that beauty without in white and pink blossoms? I had to find out.

Photo by Katelynn Ruffner on Unsplash

And so, I mustered the courage to communicate with the majestic Magnolia tree.

“Can I become like you?” I asked her through the root-vine.

“Not yet, my weepy sister. You haven’t the strength yet, nor do you even love who you are.”

Her whispered words of rejection crushed my spirit. It took me decades to understand what she meant. Decades of constant weeping and mourning. Decades of a delicate form. Decades to begin to truly love and admire my own attributes and limitations.

It wouldn’t be until 2010 before I had the chance to communicate with my evergreen sister again. My roots had become moribund, both in my native lands of Virginia and in Oklahoma where I had been transplanted in 2005. By chance, in 2010, I would meet a Canadian Maple who wanted to stretch her roots all the way to Oklahoma. Although there were far too few of my kind in the Oklahoma drylands and heat, I knew my Canadian Maple would fit right in. So off we went in search of a place to put down roots together, and lo and behold, Magnolia was there waiting for us!

Photo by Zac Omar on Unsplash

I was elated by this turn of events. There in that spacious backyard of a delightful red brick home, Magnolia, Canadian Maple and I, ever-still the Weeping Willow, began a life together. During those wonderful months, Canadian Maple taught me what it was like to be strong, loving, and giving and all the while, Magnolia watched me from a distance. I couldn’t hear her, but I felt her encouragement through the root-vine. Slowly over a six-month period, my outer and inner beauty began to shine as I surrounded myself with love and joy.

I was becoming… a Magnolia tree.

Sadly, the Canadian Maple became homesick and followed her roots back to Canada and I had to give up my space with Magnolia, but I carried the love they both shared with me and continued my growth. Now I am a tall, sturdy Magnolia tree and my roots stretch in infinite directions. I spread love and joy, even if my Weeping Willow self still glimmers in the shadows sometimes. And I discovered something I’d never experienced before — I would never be lonely again. Squirrels and birds could now enjoy my branches!

©2021 Lori Carlson. All Rights Reserved.

Lori Carlson writes Poetry, Fiction, Articles, Creative Non-Fiction and Personal Essays. Most of her topics are centered around Relationships, Spirituality, Life Lessons, Mental Health, Nature, Loss, Death, and the LGBTQ+ community. Check out her personal Medium blog here.

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𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 & 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

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Writing Coach, Poet, Fiction Writer, Essayist, Artist, Dreamer | “Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it is the Ocean” ~Thich Nhat Hanh