There is an oak tree out my studio window named Eleanor. I didn’t name her of course, she just told me one day, just like that. “My name is Eleanor.” I sit with her every day, most often starting in the dark of morning and the moon glow.
When I come to the studio chair where I write, I don’t turn on the light or light the candles. Most days I just sit here, letting the day come on. Then I write, any old thing really, what comes up in the moment. The first thoughts of the day belong to me. And God.
This time of year, 21 days from the Spring Equinox, and the birthday of my dear teacher, Carmen, Eleanor is mostly bare of leaves. I just watch her do her thing. But today something is different. I am grateful for it because today I woke up sad.
I am sad because I miss my friends. But I am mostly sad that I don’t have faith in humanity the way I did when I was young. What I mean is, faith that we won’t poison water, food, air or creatures and we will care for this land. Faith that love IS greater than fear. Faith that our nations will make amends to the original stewards of each land. Don’t take my sadness from me, or try to make me feel better. Feeling sad is part of becoming a woman on earth in 2021.
People don’t let us grieve long enough, they want us to get over and on with it, but I don’t care what they say to me, I am working this out. The sorrow for how we have behaved will likely never depart, it is part of what makes me more human.
Today, Eleanor the Oak Tree had a gift. I was feeling sick to my stomach and just sat to watch her and then all of the sudden there was a big red-breasted robbin, the kind they talk about in fairytales. The kind my Grandmother Helen loved, the kind that tells you that Spring is coming to a tree near you. I felt that quickening of delight as one by one all of her branches filled with robins. So many of them, too many to count. They didn’t stay for the photo. I did ask.
There haven’t been many birds since the fires last Fall. They thought better of coming back here and so the silence on most days is an astonishment. Barely a frog in the rain. But today Eleanor’s branches were filled with red birds. Today beneath her bare boughs the daffodils were bright in their golden poetry.
When I was growing up, my Grandmother Helen would always call, or write, and most often both, when the first daffodils came.
Today Eleanor and the Daffodils remind me that they have been carrying on this way for much longer than I have. And that while the future carries a warning, it has done that for a long time.
They told me that it is okay to lose faith, as long as I don’t stop working towards what lights up my own heart. They told me to keep paying attention, every single day. And of course, to find the beauty everywhere I can and celebrate it, every chance I get. They told me to write this story down and so I did.
My stomach ache is less, my heart is lighter, and Eleanor is brighter with every ray of sun that shines on her branches reaching for the light. So I shall, after the night, reach for the light.
I am finding rest in the unrest.
I am grateful for this, and for you.