I feel fortunate. The old Bradford Pear tree, which wraps itself around the northeast corner of our old office building, is still here. Best enjoyed from our second floor vantage points, it is putting on its autumn display.
From the east window above the stairway, the leaves are deep red and plum with bits of orange and gold. There will be some purples before the show is finished.
From the north window vantage point at my desk, I see a mixture of gold and green and a bit of orange.
One of these years, I will lose this venerable old tree that has been a part of my window-scape since the early 1980s. But it is November again, and the tree still shines.
In the bare branches of winter, starlings will visit to harvest its tiny, hard fruits.
This tree is also known as a Callery Pear. In recent years, it descended from favored streetscape tree to the stern label of "invasive species." But this tree is the same as the tree that was rescued from the aftermath of the World Trade Center collapse and now grows between Lower Manhattan's 911 Memorial pools. It is known there as "the survivor tree."
While I know this tree will not be here forever, today I still get to enjoy it. It becomes a metaphor for lots of life pieces. So often middle night wakefulness ushers in fears of endings, fears of catastrophes, fears of not enough. But in the morning and for that next day, life goes on, chock full of its little amazements and irritations – and gifts of the unexpected.
And so this tree becomes, too, a Thanksgiving symbol. Today it might be right at the top of the gratitude list I often intend to write and rarely do.
A Thanksgiving tradition at my house has long included asking each person around the table to name one thing for which they are thankful before we pile our plates with a feast of plenty. Today, I am thankful for "my tree."
Scouting for Food
Remember to fill those Scouting for Food bags dropped off last weekend. Pickup will be Saturday morning.
Please give the good stuff: hearty soups, tuna, baked beans, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats. Lord knows plenty of other folks will give more than enough cans of green beans, peas and corn.
Gratitude can be generous too.