Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Like trees.

Hollywood, Florida
"We pay for life with death, so shouldn't everything in between be free?" Bill Hicks

Yes. It should. But we all know nothing is free. There's a price to pay for all experiences. Sometimes the cost is steep, whether financial or more personally fraught and despite that, it's often quite worth it too.

My family and I vacationed in Florida this past Spring. Since my children are mostly grown (no one should ever finishing growing, right?), my wife and I agreed that we needed to book what could potentially be our last big family vacation together, just the nutty four of us. You know: celebrate those messy comfortable family dynamics that only the four of us could fully understand along with those inevitable Griswoldian moments (despite my wife's careful planning). And we mostly loved it. Some favourite moments:

1. An air-boat ride through the windy, raw and incomprehensibly vast everglades, with its blooming water lilies and poisonous trees ending with a sprinkling of alligator pee.
2. An evening beach concert with a slightly disturbing yet impressive number of joyful, free-spirited elderly people in varying states of dress and undress.
3. Young Circle Park in downtown Hollywood, Florida, a park dedicated to the arts with the most enormous trees I have ever seen: baobabs. Originating in Africa, each tree, sometimes called "the tree of life," can grow trunks more than 10 meters thick and stand strong for thousands of years.

Months later now, I'm still thinking about those huge trees, so permanent in a world so fleeting in many ways because while we were in Florida, my mother died. My Mom would have loved those trees. But Florida? Nope. Too urban, too crowded, too much traffic. My Mom preferred a simple quiet life. But those trees? She would have loved them.

My mother died about 24 hours after her diagnosis and I am told her characteristically positive attitude was completely intact. Once, a few years ago now, I believed there was a reason for everything. I make no judgment about that belief; I don't perceive that as foolish now. As far as beliefs go it's not a bad way to cope with life's struggles. I just don't believe that anymore. I find my comfort in other beliefs. Like trees. Trees make sense.

"A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible." ~Welsh proverb


E. Angelina said...

Sorry about the death of your mom, no matter what our age, a mother's death is always the most difficult to process. <3

Trees, tall, strong, and majestic is indeed a marvel.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Mothers are our own tree of life. Yours sounds wonderful.

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