Waxing My Philosophical
That rebirth thing...I'm not always so good at that. I have an unfortunate ability to be stuck in the barebranched winter of my fears or my old hurts or failures. I seek that greening even as I cling with both hands to the bleak landscape of pain, or uncertainty. I think that perhaps it is not okay to push forth to some new sun because I have failed at things or, more likely, not lived up to the impossible expectations that I've packed onto my shoulders over and over and over. And yet, every single tulip in my garden fell prey last year to nothing more than life itself; they bloomed but faded, offering nothing for most of the year other than the knowledge that they were curled waiting in the dark soil, not so much as a single fledgling stem to mark their places. Still, they come exuberantly back. They don't apologize for any past incarnation; they just burst through the soil and tip their faces upwards and know that every single shiny petal is as perfect as need be....and that they are each one enough.
The trees, too. Our trees got beat to hell this winter, and many of them lost limbs and tops. They are scarred by their journeys and yet, they are already rebuilding the lost parts, reaching higher. And they are green. Some of them are even breaking out in dozens of fragile little buds, as if the world were not dangerous. As if they were not afraid. They know something I tend to let slide: that the broken parts only come back if you put them back out there. Without the light, cradled protectively away from all that might cause harm, they wither and die. They'll lose parts again, no question--this is the Pacific Northwest and the winds always come back. But there's loss, and there's loss. Some loss is just the price of living; some is the terrible replacement for it. I confess, I've been guilty in my life of embracing that replacement.
At the end of March, I get to push my own bare arms upwards. I get to lay my unleaved self out for all to see when the temptation to just give in to winter is so very strong. I get to offer my words and my thoughts to a panel of strangers and hope they see into my soul and believe that I should take the next step to my dreams, even as I question my own worthiness of them. I'd like to think I'm as smart as a tree, that I can recognize the futility of trying to be completely safe and completely free of failure in a world and a life that are so gloriously, perfectly imperfect. The dead tree on the burn pile hasn't failed in a very long time....but, you know. The big tree in front has a bunch of hard knots where branches used to be...but also a whole bunch of supple green new ones. I want to see the value of my own new growth, and know that those old stories are just that: old stories. Things that happened. Things I've outlasted.
In other words: the world is once more pulling itself out of sleep and making itself new. It's millions of years old. If it's not too tired yet of the growing and the painful dying, I probably shouldn't be, either. There are ferns under my trees out back that keep growing even in the shadows, and rhubard that comes back over and over, even though I invariably shred it with the lawn mower. Everywhere I look, the world is braver than I've sometimes been. Okay. So, just for this spring, I will embrace the process of becoming new. I won't look at what's old except to see how many times I've won--regardless of what might have marked me, nothing's beat me. I'll turn in my application and my recommendations and my essay and I'll know that it's enough. I may not get into nursing school...but I'll get to be new again just the same. And whatever's coming is so much more than the curled up spot in the soil where no one can hurt me and nothing can get me.....and nothing whatsoever grows the slightest bit.
Remember the line in "Finding Nemo", where Dory says that it's strange for Marty to wish that nothing would happen to Nemo "...cause, if nothing ever happens to him...how's anything going to happen to him?" Love that line.
Now I just need to be as smart as an old tree and a cartoon fish.