30 April, 2011

Shameless metaphor

On my walk yesterday I stopped to admire an ancient apple tree. I don't know how old apple trees get, but this one had an impressive trunk and improbably thick branches. The weather was beautiful and everything was in bloom. The tears in my eyes could have been from pollen or maybe just from the raw emotion that seems to be flowing just under the surface of my being lately.

My friend died. The one who was in at the emergency clinic the other day for a broken leg. He was 93, an acquaintance from the nursing home. Someone who'd already told me a year ago that he was tired of life and would like to just go ahead and get death over with.

He'd showed me pictures. Old black and white photos, goofy shots of friends in military uniforms, just before they were massacred on a field in Russia. He'd gotten wind of an ambush and had had a friend shoot him in the leg so that he would be sent to the field hospital. He was the only survivor in his whole unit, and the guilt cripples him to this very day. Or up until April 18th, to be exact.

And then suddenly another image crowds into my mind. That of S and B. I'd spotted them earlier in the week on my way to the grocery store. They were on their bikes, saw me and waved happily, a box with half a dozen ice creams under S's arm. They're on vacation, the sun was shining, and they were taking long meandering bicycle tours, the majority of which ended up at the grocery store, where they get more bang for their buck with the ice cream funds that they got from their Opa. Then, jacked up on sugar, they do wheelies and other death-defying stunts until it's time to come home and revel in the luxury of free time and lazy boredom that come with being an average of 10 years old...

I smile, and then remember an old friend whose life is dissolving around her ears. Her mother, dying of cancer, her father, who can't handle the pressure, and who's had to be admitted into a mental ward with a nervous breakdown. Her own marriage in crisis and future uncertain.

A loved one who was given an all-clear after a cancer screening. pure joy and relief.

A new house, a new beginning.

This old apple tree, with its beautiful, deceptively fragile-looking blossoms, which hide gnarled, scarred branches. Reminds me a lot of life in all its glory...


Africakid said...

I like your metaphor.
Life IS full of glory and gnarly, scarred branches and the whole mix.
Beautiful post, Betsy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that. I think of nature in much the same way. It's greening up here too. After watching that dangerous ice storm and being surprised by the Frost Quakes which I never knew existed; this spring has an excitement that is new to me.

Peace to you and yours.
Lisa in Indy

Melinda Reinfeld said...

Thanks for sharing Betsy. Right now I am too going through a period of gnarly, scarred branches. I enjoy reading your blog! Again thanks!

Betsy said...

Thanks everyone! :-)

Lisa, what the heck are Frost Quakes? Sounds like some kind of kids' breakfast cereal! ;-)

Thanks, Melinda! I hope that everything turns out OK for you! And soon!

Goofball said...

Life is sour & sweet, scarred & beautiful...like appels