I should know what kind it is. A fir tree? Douglas? Sitka spruce? I will find out soon.
Every morning I step out of my bedroom to the deck and look north. There against the blue sky is this Tree. It is no. 1 on my list of "things that took me too long to learn to love". I have lived in this house for 30 years and I've seen the Tree before but I have never really stopped to thank the Tree for being there. I have not thanked the homeowners who haven't chopped it down.
I am learning to cultivate a relationship with the Tree so these days, first thing in the morning, I say my silent offering of gratitude for its Being. My gaze this morning turned from the Tree to the contour of the hills surrounding our valley. The hills are still tree-lined and thank goodness, can't see houses on the ridge. Bringing my attention back to my Tree, I wonder if it feels too alone without siblings nearby. Sure there are other trees in the neighborhood. In fact, an overgrown pepper tree to the east of the deck covers the house right behind us. And next to it is a bay laurel tree.
But my Tree is majestic as it stands alone against the wide blue sky. I imagine that it would make the best Christmas tree if there was a ladder tall enough to reach the top and hang lights on it. But there isn't because this tree is just too tall. I don't know. Maybe 300 feet? Anyway, it doesn't need lights. She is grand just as she is.
I wonder how many crickets, birds, and other insects my Tree gives shelter to. In the quiet of the night I hear the crickets and their psst psst psst.
How to translate this awe and wonder in my classroom? Last week a student said "Sure, I'd like to have a relationship with other living species like animals, fish, bears...but a mountain or stone? Nah. A pleasure to look at maybe but I don't think they are animate." Well, the acknowledgment is the beginning of a new way of seeing. I have 6 more weeks to work with them.
I will ask the Tree what to do with student T.