Yes, I am vastly oversimplifying. Bear with me.
I used to be a branch type of gal. Creative, growth-oriented, swaying in the breeze but firmly anchored.
When young and single, my trunk was my family of origin—namely my mom and dad.
They were stable, oh so Midwestern, oh so predictable (except for that brief stint with disco lessons which we all studiously avoided discussing—I chalk it up to midlife crisis).
When I married, I wed a man who was stable, steady, balanced his checkbook to the penny.
He became the trunk to my branches.
It is oh so easy to be a branch—to grow, change with the season, be spontaneous, sway with the breeze—when you are firmly anchored to a solid base.
At some point in life and my marriage, I became the trunk. Unwillingly, perhaps unwittingly, I became the solid force. The one who planned ahead. Paid the bills. Talked about having a Plan B. Valued security above all else.
Because when you value security above all else, if your trunk is cracking or damaged by storms, you realize that the branches will not survive. That eventually, you will crack, break and fall.
No. It is better, you think, to go through the pruning and replant yourself somewhere new. Being your own trunk is preferable to dying on the vine.
I was remembering just the other night, the light heart, the spontaneous spirit, the devil-may-care girl I used to see in the mirror. The one who had faith in her safety net, knew she had a fallback.
I miss her. I want to find my way back to her. At least in part.
I resent, some days, that I am now having to be so very solid. So very dependable. Strong, no matter the storm.
When a summer breeze playfully blows by, I want to dance with it rather than sit, anchored to the ground.
I want to be moved by it.
I am sure that part of my learning in life was meant to be this transition.
I am wishing for some sway, though. It is hard to be solid and dance with the wind, flirt with the Santa Anas.
I know a woman who is all branch. I have seen her run from having to face everything from a gentle rainfall to a surly Nor’Easter. She has become weak through the years because she has not had to weather anything.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes I envy her. Someone else does the heavy lifting—always.
And yet, she lives in constant fear. She puts on a brave front, but I see into her soul. She is ever fearful. And her world becomes small because of that.
Becoming a solid base is preferable to becoming so insubstantial you can only survive in a hothouse.
So here I sit, in all my glory. Feeling anything but glorious. Rather, weathered, careworn, craggy.
I endure, though.
There may come a time when this tree withers. When it is time for me to start anew, a sapling again, with a cutting from this substantial form.
So I take my lessons as they come. I know how to sway and blossom.
And endure. Now I know better how to endure.
It is a beautiful tree that can do all three.