“Dundas Street West, Toronto” DS 2016
An urban prayer walk – do not know what the tree is but I recognize the shape as my own – tall, strong, beautifully complex yet stripped down. However, this is me in winter. Soon leaves will show their buds of green. My sap runs thick and healthful even in the cold. Like maple syrup it will run for others to drink in the spring. People will even hammer jagged spouts in me to get what is in me out. They catch my lifeblood in buckets. I hope it will do them some good.
Pink flowers, tiny, star-shaped and fragrant pop open one day. I am more delighted by this than any other observer who looks up. They live for a while then die. I remember this blooming last year. I thought it would be forever this hot pink pulchritude. Petals on the streets were my outpouring of love. The streets looked paved in pink for a short few weeks. Then it all went brown. The death of petals is most sad – such a cruel contrast of life and death.
Soon, however, I noticed the leaves growing so large and multi-toned stretching out to catch the blue sky sun. Glory is what comes to me. This glory is even after the blooming is over. Is this the loveliness of middle age?
Then the heat of such growth gives way to the slowing coolness of autumn. The leaves large, veiny become scarlet red, burgundy, orange, burnt umber and lime to evoke awe. They show their true colours then become crispy and die.
I will not fear this death, as I know from past experience that this is when my roots go down far and wide seeking the moisture that keeps me alive although I look dead. This dormancy is my daily experience for now. It feels cold, dead, sparse – lonely.
This waiting will soon pass, I know. Birds of red, blue and yellow will be back to rest, feed and sing in my branches. I will feed some and provide shade for others and impress them in their rest with my splendor. This sap, this Spirit, will raise and beautify me again.
Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.
Book of Daniel