June 12, 2023

The Tree Rising From the Ashes

Hey, it’s me again. I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for the first time during a recent trip to New York City, and it turned into both a refreshing and cathartic experience for me. I don't post blogs anymore, but this essay deserved to be placed here, both as an homage to an old chapter and the outlook of a new chapter.

Everything and everyone looks a whole lot different now. Mostly good outlooks, some not so good.

But it doesn’t feel so much like “things changed,” as much as it feels like everything is finally the way it was supposed to be all along. That’s a complicated reality for many involved—including myself—to fully process. I think the leaves will keep letting themselves grow into their proper places, and eventually we will all be able to see the full glorious tree, both from within and without.

I mean, I at least believe it will be glorious, based on the iridescent light filtering through the soft shield of shade my growing tree is already providing.

Some people don’t even see my tree at all. Not to blame them in any way, I did indeed declare that I was going to burn to blown ashes what everyone perceived my previous tree to be, and then I did indeed set not just my own tree, but several nearby trees into a quick and local voluminous blaze. I buried my eyes and hid my heart from staring at the damages. I knew full well the extent. I had planned this arson for years.

What I didn’t plan for was what I hadn’t seen following behind me my entire life.

This other sapling had managed to dodge the large spotlight on the tree I worked so hard to grow for so long, struggling quietly in its unknown insecurity.

Sometimes we are fortunate to have new miracles rise from our ashes. I turned around to reflect, and my miracle was starting to stand up straighter and look me in the eyes. 

I would never have seen this tree unless all the forest around it was obliterated. It didn’t look the way I expected to, or how I would have forced it to grow.

The newly recognized tree is growing steadily and creatively. It does not grow in one direction; it twists and curls upward, outward, and around. The colors are always changing. The branches reach out for fellow trees to not only take care, but also to have care taken for itself. There are different kinds of trees around me now; some I have never seen before and yet so easy to love, others trying to regrow back into the space after experiencing their version of the wildfire. Some trees will never grow back here, and that will be natural for both the land and the trees.

I love my new tree and my new tree loves me. I love that my tree loves the other trees without holding back for itself. In having the courage to create that first spark, from the ashes is where the Tree of Truth and Life can be found. I opened my eyes to survey the chaos and instead met this tree. The truth was quiet and still: through the chaos, I met myself, and finally had the bravery and honesty to introduce her to the whole world.

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If you'd like to see what I'm up to these days, here are the best spots to find me. Lots of work, lots of projects, but mostly lots of love and joy, thankful every day for my beautiful life here in Germany.