Thursday, August 30, 2012

Trees and Windows

"One measures the age of a tree on a cross-section whose rings show the amount of growth which the tree enjoyed each year.  There is a wide circle for good years, and a very narrow one, sometimes almost none at all, marks the years of drought.  I know that we show no physical proofs of our experience, but I think our lives are not unlike those of the trees.  Some years are good years and we expand in them; some years are bad ones and the most we can do is to hold our own.  But good or bad, like the trees we are still ourselves, growing out from the heartwood of our youth which I believe is a combination of our inheritance and our upbringing.  Like the trees, we may be able to correct a bend or knothole which shows in youth; we may cover over the scar of an injury which however will always be there, though it may be hidden from sight. " 
- Elizabeth Coatsworth, in her 'Almost an Autobiography: Personal Geography' from 1976.

I'm in a narrow year, and I've forgotten my humor, become so serious that I'm always as behind a window pane streaked. 
Its true I still have moments of levity, thank God, or I'd turn into that pane of glass literally.
So its been hard to write, having lost that voice and ease that I hadn't known I had taken such pride in.  But even in the long and narrow, things keep happening that I know will have long and wide repercussions, and I do wonder what they will be. 

Coatsworth trails towards the end of this particular essay with this...

"All these things and a thousand more are embodied in me, the good years and the bad, the wide rings of growth and the narrow.  One's past is not something we leave behind, but something we incorporate. ... Outwardly I am eighty-three years old, but inwardly I am every age, with the emotions and experience of each period. The important thing is that at each age I am myself, just as you are yourself. "


Jen said...

Nice. I like this.

MotherOfGooses said...

Beautiful, I will take strength in that thought.

Noel said...

Thanks for the reference to Elizabeth Coatsworth. I love her words and used so many of her books when Helen and I were homeschooling. The book you mentioned is new to me and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival on inter-library loan. I also take a lot of comfort in the strength and endurance I see in trees. Hope all is well in your world.