So true are the words by Gretchen Rubin, "The days are long, but the years are short" as we recently celebrated my son's 5th birthday and my daughters very first, fast approaching in just over a month. The reality of time and age sinks in deeper still as I watch my furry companion of almost 11 years struggle to keep up with me on our hikes as of late,
the noticeable greying of her once-jet black coat and the recent appearance of whitening eyebrows she never had before.
At what point do we go from cheering on and celebrating growing milestones to wanting to desperately stop the clock, when the pleasures of seeing a loved one grow and mature turns into heartbreak as life seems to pick up her pace.
Although seemingly better lately, Sachi recently went through some mobility issues, devastating to watch, somehow made worse when suffered by such a large, proud animal struggles to stand, her hind leg shaking uncontrollably until I placed my hand gently on it, steadying her and praying wth all my heart that with enough love and determination I might somehow be able to will my own strength to flow into her slowly failing body.
She's not fading yet, and with proper care and nutrition I'm confident there will be many more years of shenanigans ahead but the reality of age faced by someone so close to my heart is a jagged pill to swallow.
I am a self-confessed worrier. I worry about things that will never be, worry about worries that I will probably never have to worry about. So when I get into that "worrying head space" when the worst of the worst scenarios start running through my head like a runaway train, when I become my own worst enemy and the walls seem to close in a little too much for comfort, I go for a hike to clear my head.
That week when Sachi fell and she couldn't get up..and I couldn't help her up because she was too damn heavy for me, I went on a lot of hikes.
I sobbed my eyes out on some of them, with only the deer and resident wildlife to witness my falling apart. On some other hikes I was pissed off, walking fast and jerkily with determination, pissed off that I was too damn weak to help her during her time of need, pissed off that I had to witness my own physical limitations when it was needed the most.
The majority of those hikes I did neither.
I walked aimlessly through our trails, stopping frequently to look up at the tops of our 50' jack pines swaying in the wind and felt pretty small..making my problems very small in the whole scheme of things.
On one of these quiet hikes, Leo and I came upon a pile of logs that had obviously been cut and piled many years ago. One log in particular had an amazing display of rings that started our conversations about time, age and how you can tell how old a tree was by counting their rings. I explained that to people who study trees, they would also be able to see what the climate was like in a particular year..the amount of rainfall, the temperature spikes and fluctuations. And after my long rambling explanations, Leo looked at me and simply said,
"..So trees tell stories even though we can't hear them talk?".
So perfectly summarized by my 5 year old and the inspiration for my series of tree ring etchings.
And in the process of working on them,
I've discovered that age can be a beautiful thing..even long after the life is gone.
Because there will always be the stories to keep them alive.
xo Blue Gnome
Tree of Life ring
Tree of Life ring