Standing beyond my back fence on the other side of the street are five vibrant Bradford Pear trees. They are dressed in vivacious gold, yellow, burgundy and orange. Ten days before Christmas, I seem to find them far more profound in their beauty and appeal than all the Christmas lights and trees in the neighborhood. In the early morning light, their branches sway gently and gracefully like a ballerina, a song, or a whisper. When first light hits them, I am witness to the reason for the season, for in this predawn quiet I seem to almost sense celestial voices.
For a few moments, thoughts are suspended and I pause. I breathe. I feel gratitude. Hundreds of cars in this city of over a million people pass beneath the beauty and shelter of these trees every day. I wonder if anyone even notices them.
Across the street from my home is a maple tree whose leaves have all dropped after the first freeze. The tree is now resting, pausing until spring, when it once again will come to life and provide daily inspiration, at least to me. The homeowners complain about the leaves. I wonder if they have ever seen what I see in that tree.
In Fredericksburg, there is a cypress tree that must be over a hundred years old. Each time I drive in and out of town, it welcomes me, intrigues me, and tells me goodbye. Once it most likely provided shelter for a farm house, a place for children of German descent to climb and imagine unknown worlds, or protect families from the intense summer heat or Indians.
This morning as I inhale freshly brewed Latin American coffee, the earth is quiet and the trees are at rest.
“From the mud grows the lotus.”