Posts Tagged ‘blue spruce’

The people who help me find my courage are not the ones who swoop in to save the day. They’re the ones who sit with me in the fear puddle and hold my hand while my knees shake. Here’s to the hand-holders. (Nanea Hoffman)

Our blue spruce tree needs a few limbs removed. The tree is being treated for spider mites and a variety of other ailments. Spikes that contain healing potions lead into the ground.

I watch the goldfinch, sparrow, and purple finch at the bird feeder. I have no idea how many have passed through blue spruce’s branches in its forty years in our yard. The number doesn’t matter. My husband and I don’t want to lose our bed-and-breakfast for birds. Even if the squirrels take advantage and eat sumo-wrestler-sized portions of feed. Cats watch and wait for slower flyers. Cooper hawks attack sparrows. Life is not perfect. Anywhere.

As I enter the house, my arms laden with groceries, I notice dead limbs. The word amputate comes to mind. A conversation I had at the store returns in my memory as if it is happening now:

“Terry, hi!”

I stop studying the varieties of paper products and turn around. I see a friend I haven’t seen in eight months. She has been through two rounds of chemo and one course of radiation for breast cancer.

“How are you? I have thought about you so many times.”

“I’m doing okay.” She pulls back a section of her scarf. “See. My hair is growing back in.” She reaches for my hand.

An employee comes by to check something in the aisle. I move to give her room, but don’t let go of my friend’s hand. The warmness of her being washes through me. And I don’t know who is offering whom courage.

She talks about the experience of chemo without putting glossy euphemisms on it. Yet, she is accepting. And hopeful. I have no idea how much time passes and don’t care.

I may have remembered everything on my list. Then again, I could have forgotten an essential item for tomorrow evening’s meal. It won’t matter. Something else will do. Larger matters surround me. Another friend is beginning a second fight against breast cancer. A neighbor lost her husband.

The bare branches will be gone soon. The tree will survive.  I lent my car to a family member this week. She needs it more than I do right now. I used my husband’s car for the weekly grocery trip. Suddenly the car loss appears trivial. The time I have been given to care for at-home chores seems essential. Basic. I’ve been neglecting some core needs. It is time to face them.

The tree reaches into the sky. My friend’s head shows tiny gray stubble. And today begins another day. No promises, but plenty of both sun and fear puddles. And I am grateful to join friends through both.

closeup blue spruce



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