Every spring, the leaves on the deciduous trees in my home forest open with a rapidity that remains a source of wonder for me. The oaks in particular open their leaves seemingly so suddenly that in my mind each tree mimics the sound of an opening umbrella—a distinctive whoosh of unfurling and protection.
On some levels, that’s an illusion, and I celebrate that. Throughout the long tough winter, the trees were gathering their strength and resources for their spring opening. Their leaves have long been budding, invisible to my eyes. The trees’ path of growth is one of constant persistence and steadiness. It’s a vegetative form of faith, giving all that effort with trust in eventual spring.
I celebrate that the same process informs our own emotional winters. As long as we do our persistent inner work, there will come our own sudden growth points, where our changes will be fresh and clear. More often than not, our work pays off in ways that are finally beautiful.
I’m in the meadow thinking of this, looking across at the oaks and their fresh leaves, imagining their whoosh and my own. It’s when I remember to look up, though, that I feel the growth points the closest, sitting under just a few new leaves on a different humble tree, still small and yet already a veteran of many winters of waiting. That tree has never moved from its place, never wavered from its decision to grow right here, right now. It grows without any instruction but instinct, any reward but growth itself. I sit under that tree until darkness, absorbing its wisdom, remembering too to trust in my own growth points, in this very moment and other springs yet to come.