It is my third visit of the year to this fine old oak tree; a nice habit beginning to build. We are 65 days into 2019 already, and there’s still no sign of change here in the wood. I’m still wrapped up warm in a jacket and woolly hat. My hands are still cold as I grip the coarse bark and haul myself upwards. There is absolutely no hint of spring or buds of green yet.
Sitting up here on the third of my monthly climbs I realised that my own year is following the same pattern as the tree’s. I still feel as though the year is only just beginning, that I have not really got started or made much progress. I had assumed that by now I would be further along with the book I am writing, that some work partnerships I am hoping for would have materialised, that I would be clearer in my mind about the journey I plan to make this summer.
Up here it becomes clear to me then that my New Year plans and hopes are only just getting started. And yet the plain fact that I am back here up in these branches for the third time in 2019 makes that folly apparent.
I really appreciate that this tree (I’m not yet ready to call it “my” tree) stands waiting for me week upon week until my next visit. That (to my eyes) the tree does not change in the slightest. It just is. And I have found myself anticipating my next trip out to these woods so that I can measure my own change against it. This month the evidence is disappointing, but also motivating.
And I must beware measuring myself against a seemingly inert tree and year. For soon this oak’s year will accelerate. Probably by the next time I visit here, in fact, the tree will be bursting into action, unfurling a million fresh new leaves as it sucks every ounce of sunlight and energy out of the seasons to come. I must do the same. I make a pledge to myself before climbing down: by the time I return here next month I must ensure that my own year is budding with new growth and hope and bursting into life.
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