It wouldn’t be quite correct to say that I bought my house because of a tree, but it wouldn’t be far off either. It’s a large eucalyptus tree, God knows how old, but very mature.
The first day I saw it was an exciting day. We were house hunting for a while, when we came across our house and somehow, driving into the yard, this one felt right.
And so, it turned out to be. We bought it, then invited the builders in to make it look worse for a while before it looked better, before moving in during the summer, gloriously in time for the full bloom of the mature garden, and the gentle hiss of the summer breeze against those eucalyptus leaves, which offered a new calming shroud to my soul. I had landed in heaven. I cherished the joy.
Autumn revealed its dark silhouette against flaming pink morning skies, more beauty than one could imagine. Our tree acquired a new wooden swing, for glorious play. Some fairies had moved in too around its base, their solar houses glowing at night, which my little girl and I sometimes tip-toed out to see.
And then came a storm, unexpected and wild, but not meteorological.
My marriage ended.
Now the tree looked so isolated to me, on the days when I could manage to notice it, or see it through the blur of tears, strong but alone, vulnerable, unsupported.
My three kids and I passed the tree every day on the way to school and back, me wondering if it would survive the winter, or if it might have already weathered too many storms and be too damaged, so that the lightest breeze might now tip it over.
How much my lovely tree must have been through over the years, I considered, admiring even more now how stoic it looked, despite being pelted with rain and wrestled by wind so many times in its life. Nature seemed a bit stupid to me now, to have created such loveliness in one season, only then to try and destroy it in another.
But then one winters morning, I saw its strong dark trunk emerging through the dense, white fog. Nothing else was visible at that distance that morning but my lovely tree, letting me know it was still there. Like me, it was still standing, despite the bleak conditions, it had had to face.
Spring came and my lovely tree began to sprout new leaves, preparing for another gentle, hissing summer. I could feel the optimism sprouting from its blooms. Buttercups and daisies began to grace its base too, and of course the fairies loved that!
And now the summer is here again, and I have invested in a comfy chair outside, where I can sit to drink my tea in the company of my friend the tree, whose branches move more skittishly these days than their frantic, flaying of winter. Sometimes their sudden bouts of jolly motion, feel deliberate to making me smile, their stillness, deliberate to bringing me peace. But it’s the trees reassuring, presence, companionship and magnificence, regardless of its mood or intent, that always brings me happiness.
While there are still days of rain, the sun shines more often now. I often wonder why I ever thought my tree might just fall over, given that really, all those years of growing after the storms must have given it great roots, with which to cling to life, and be able for any meteorological event.
We are not over the storms, that tree and me, but I know from now on, we will get through them together.
© Pauline O’Shea
PS You can view previous blogposts by clicking here
PPS You can follow this blog by subscribing through email, or by following ‘The healing of life’ Facebook or Instagram pages through this link