Tree Life

My right hip is starting to ache a bit from the walk and my legs move stiffly. I am thinking that much of my life seems to be a chore these days. Simple things, like walking, I no longer take for granted. We come upon a pretty tree. I hand the dog’s leash to my husband and walk up to the tree. I want to get a closer look at a flowering branch. It is a Redbud tree, although the small flowers are not red, but purple. The Redbud is an early bloomer. It is only February, but spring is here.

Texas Redbud

I wonder what it would be like to be a Redbud tree. I could go dormant in winter instead of feeling the depression that kicks in with short, dreary days. No thinking about everything I have to take care of each day. No laundry! No insomnia. No worrying about family and old pets. I would just “be.” I would be rooted in one spot. I could grow tall and wide and my roots could stretch deep into the earth. Bunnies might munch grass and cavort below me. Coyotes will move past me looking for prey. I could be a home to birds and squirrels. My flowers could provide nectar for butterflies and bees. My beauty would fade, but then return again each year. I could live a long time, longer than any human. There is an Oak tree on the coast that is estimated to be at least 1,000 years old. Redbuds are prettier than Oaks, though.

I am a Redbud tree. The air is cool and the sun is warm upon me. I am nourished by rich soil and spring rain. Beautiful purple flowers adorn me. My green leaves are shaped like hearts, but I cannot love. I will give birth to more trees like me as my flowers become seeds in sturdy pods. Someday I will get old. My grey bark will become scaly. I will topple into the dust and will become a log. I will be a bench for nature lovers and a home for little creatures. I will be gnawed by beetles and ants. I wil rot.

My husband is impatient, so I say good bye to my tree and my fantasy. When I get home I pull my field guide to Trees of Texas* off the shelf. I read that the life span of the Texas Redbud is only from 50-75 years! The length of their lives is the same as humans. And trees cannot love. I would miss loving if I was a tree. Oh, well. I will be cremated when I die and my ashes will be spread outdoors. I will become one with all life, Redbuds included, and I will be at peace.

*Trees of Texas Field Guide by Stan Tekiela (Adventure Publications, Inc.; Cambridge, Minnesota)


Heart Shaped Leaf of the Texas Redbud

**(Photos taken by Betty McCreary)

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Born and raised in Central Texas. Spending time outside brings me joy and I love to share my observations. I also belong to two writing groups and enjoy researching my ancestors. I find people interesting, but Nature keeps me sane.

10 thoughts on “Tree Life”

  1. I enjoyed your foray into the Red Bud universe. I’ve traveled across Texas at the right time of year several times and kept seeing those beautiful trees – so many of them that I finally looked them up. The house across the street from me had one in their front yard but I don’t think it lasted here more than a few years. Anyway, their life expectancy is kind of a deal breaker for that big of a lifestyle change, but I do think they must be able to feel emotions such as love. Why else would they produce leaves so perfectly heart-shaped?


    1. Thanks Trish!
      Yeah, the subject of the feelings of plants is a whole other conversation…I don’t mean to dis their feelings, but maybe if I knew for sure that they had certain feelings i might revisit the idea of becoming one.


  2. Thanks, Betty, for sharing your thoughts of your recent nature foray. It seems to me that it is the time of year to reconnect with nature, to see the new buds and promise of leaves and blossoms. It’s a good thing we have seasons and that our winter is ending.
    Lately, I’ve been sequestered indoors during a dark and rainy week and into this week of more sunshine. It has been self-imposed, in order to finish my long time paper project about a less than uplifting project, my own death. Now that the notebook is nearly complete and I am soon to be 75, I will leave this project feeling I’ve helped my kids be able to more easily handle things when I’m gone. I will get out into nature, taking my camera of course but more importantly connecting with the coming of Spring and new life. I think it will take me forward and give me the spiritual impetus needed to take on the rest of my life. I don’t know what life would be like without closeness to nature and it’s persistence to live and it’s ability to let go when the time comes to do so.


  3. I love this Betty. Being as a tree is one of my favourite meditations. Your description is sublime. As a side note, I included that 1,000 year-old live oak in a recent post.


  4. Thanks V. J.!
    I owe my recent tree interest to an old friend who e-mails me descriptions of trees she sees on walks in Colorado.
    I must have missed the 1,000 year old live oak post! I swear I am not copying you…I would like to read it. I have been to see the Big Tree on the coast once a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful post! Truly enjoyed your fantasies, and also your very real conclusion.
    BTW … something is going on with WordPress that prevents me clicking LIKE on posts (I can click but it doesn’t register) … I certainly do LIKE this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very lovely Betty, I like it when you  ‘bring forth yourself’ in your Natural Musings.  Take very good care re Covid 19, all of you.  More later, Love, Ann

    Liked by 2 people

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