As Old As I Am

There’s a single tree at the fence line…

When I cross the unfertile pasture strewn
with rocks and the holes of gophers, badgers, coyotes,
and the rattlesnake den (a thousand killed
in a decade because they don’t mix well with dogs
and children) in an hour’s walking and reach
the tree, I find it oppressive. Likely it’s
as old as I am, withstanding its isolation,
all gnarled and twisted from its battle
with weather. I sit against it until we merge,
and when I return home in the cold, windy
twilight I feel I’ve been gone for years.

~Jim Harrison, from “Fence Line Tree” from Saving Daylight.

Our fence line apple tree is considerably older than I am, and not a far walk away from the house. I visit it nearly every day, to be reminded that there is a wonder in gnarled limbs and blatant asymmetry.

What strikes me is the consistent presence of this tree though so much changes around it: the seasons, the birds that nest in it, the animals that graze under it and the ever-changing palette above and beyond.

This tree stands bent and misshapen, though not nearly as fruitful as in its younger years, yet still a constant in my life and in generations to come.

May I be that constant for those around me, to be steady when all around me changes in swirls and storms. Perhaps being bent and wrinkled and knobby can also be beautiful.

5 thoughts on “As Old As I Am

  1. So good! What an apt illustration/parable/allegory/object lesson–I identify! (Couldn’t decide on the most appropriate term–lol!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Comment re your last paragraph:
    You will be. And:
    Bent, Wrinkled and Knobby ARE beautiful.
    They are earned attributes that reflect a life well lived.
    They are the result of innate persistence and facing reality
    (difficult as that is sometimes). They are also the result
    of a steady diet of the Word of God!

    Liked by 1 person

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