We have a beautiful, gnarly lemon tree in our backyard. The lemons are lumpy, their skin thick. The tree’s branches proffer tiny thorns. When I go to harvest, I sometimes imagine the tree as weathered and irked, well-deserving of its quiet, solemn ode. Spiders spin their silk empires in the leaves.
When I back up a few steps, the lemon tree still stands, but its story is slightly reframed. I become acquainted here with this tree’s brilliant, somber resilience. The tree is a part of something- it yawns over the fern, shades the two goldfish in the pond. The lemons continue to fall to the earth, globes of bitter brightness.
I used to follow my dad to the park. We would climb up the sturdy oaks. The electrical wires buzzing overhead, he would speak of what these trees, who these trees have seen decades, centuries ago.
We are not alone as we sojourn through this old land. The trees stand witness to something greater. They give us fruit to eat, shade to rest. They demand respect. They model an ancient dignity that might guide us home.