All That’s Left

This was once a grand poplar; tall and broad, it graced the side yard of my childhood home. I remember my sister and I could clasp our hands together and stretch the expanse of the tree to find our hands could not meet on the other side. The lowest limbs were too tall for us to climb onto from the ground. Our brothers nailed pegs on one side of the tree so we could climb it. We could sit on the lower branches, just below the song of the birds and playful antics of the squirrels, and overlook the houses below our bluff. We peered into the blueness of the sky and fluff of cloud between bits of branches, leaves, and blossoms. We often stared upon the ground, a worn path around the tree surrounded by patches of grass and wild onion, scattered acorn and tufts of hay, and dared whether we were to jump or make our way backward down those pegs. It was our tree and we shared it with all the neighborhood kids. The other trees must have been jealous of all the attention the poplar received. We felt like little queens of the tree.

Forty years have weathered it away. It stopped blooming and the leaves dropped. The limbs grew brittle and one by one snapped to the ground. The bark whittled away and the trunk hollowed. It is a mere shell of what it once was…oh, but the beautiful memories it holds of childhood laughter and years gone by.

Time weathers us all. We are all mere shells of what we once were. We can whither away. Or we can remember the blossoms of youth and spread the fragrance of our experiences. Old or young, whole or broken; we are beautiful in our own way. If you can shake with the wind, do it. If you no longer can, smile and remember when you did.

44 thoughts on “All That’s Left

    • Ha, I take joy in the days when I could shake with the wind since I mostly just memory dream about it now, or shall we say my shaking has turned to “swaying” with the wind…time has slowed this body down a bit, but I still smile.

    • I did and I left you a reply there. I think your comment is on my “about” page. As I said, I am honored you thought of me, but I don’t do awards anymore…explanation is on the original comment.

  1. “We can whither away. Or we can remember the blossoms of youth and spread the fragrance of our experiences.” This is so true SuziCate.

    I always feel a bit saddened when I see an old tree that has come to the end of its life, and yet the cycle continues.

  2. So sad that it’s gone. I had a tall tree I used to climb growing up. We moved from that house. I wonder if it’s still there? Good memories. Maybe some of our childhood soul is left in them?

  3. Excellent Suzicate. I sometimes wonder about our family tree in the backyard of my childhood home–I have not seen it in 20+ years. Wonder how tall it is now and if other families will base their memories around it’s sprawling branches.

  4. What a lovely post, Suzi!

    Once again, insight woven between beautiful images.

    That first photo is BEYOND stunning! Love the texture!

    “The bark whittled away and the trunk hollowed. It is a mere shell of what it once was…oh, but the beautiful memories it holds of childhood laughter and years gone by.”

    Yes, it’s no wonder they refer to our family history as TREES.

    “Time weathers us all. We are all mere shells of what we once were. We can whither away. Or we can remember the blossoms of youth and spread the fragrance of our experiences. Old or young, whole or broken; we are beautiful in our own way. If you can shake with the wind, do it. If you no longer can, smile and remember when you did.”

    BEAUTIFUL!

    Thanks for sharing the wisdom of trees, my friend!

    Have a wonderful day……X

  5. Sounds like a great playhouse! 😀

    I don’t feel like a shell of what I once was . . . just the opposite. I feel like I’m blossoming fully for the very first time.

    And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud, was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin

    • Physically, I probably look like a shell of what I once was to others who knew me in my prime, however I feel (most of the time) as if I’m really living now!
      That Anais Nin quote is one of my favorites.

  6. This takes me back to the wonderful maple we kids played in. It was chock-full of knots and holes, and it had oodles of low limbs, giving us many hand- and toe-holds for climbing. What wonderful memories you’ve evoked of becoming one with Nature for a while!

    • Sounds like you had a lovely childhood tree as well. We had this one at home and my grandparents had oodles of trees, but we particularly gravitated to an apple and a mulberry tree there.

  7. That was a wonderful old tree. It was so big that several men could not meet arms around it. You and I could probably only encompass 1/4 of it if that! Brings back fond memories.

  8. The body may wither, like the outer husk around the nut. In some it’s atrophy. In others, the spirit expands, grown to large to fit the confines of the physical. We have a choice — to fall into the rut of boredom and sameness, or to reach out and drink deeply of all that life offers.

    You drink deeply, dear SuziCate, and challenge us all in the doing!

  9. Trees were my playhouses, friends and keepers from my earliest memories. They swayed me, carried me, fed me oxygen and kept me warm in winter. I’m still in love those graceful gifts to mankind.

  10. Wonderful analogy, Suzi. And absolutely heart-breaking photo. The last time I drove down my grandmother’s street, I saw that they had torn her house down and with it all the memories of family meals, and Grandma cooking in the kitchen.

    But I guess you’re right. The memories aren’t in the house that is no more, they’re still inside of me. And may someday be committed to the eternal world of pen and paper or electronic signals.

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