I looked out my back window the morning after I returned from a long trip and marveled at the beautiful red of a maple tree across the alley. Then I wondered why I didn’t remember this tree from previous years. I definitely notice remarkable flowers and trees around the neighborhood, and I’ve even been known to alter my walking or driving routes to revisit lovely spots. How had I missed this tree?
Then I remembered that there had been another, dying tree, between my back porch and this beautiful maple. A windstorm last spring knocked down part of the other tree and the neighbor had the rest of the tree removed. With the dead wood gone, I had a clear view of this red beauty. A new discovery in my old neighborhood.
For the past week I have been enjoying this tree. I look out in the morning to see it lit up with the morning sun. In the evening, it looks darker as the sun goes low behind the tree. Sometimes when I stand up from my desk, I glance out the window and appreciate the color and shape of the tree.
It’s amazing that the beauty so close at hand was not visible to me when it was obscured by a large, nearly dead tree. Until the dead wood was removed, I didn’t have the correct sight-line to see the maple tree.
I know that soon the color will dim, the leaves will fall, and the tree will be bare for the winter. But for this moment, I can see this tree, this vista. I can see the beauty clearly because the dead wood has been cleared away.
Makes me wonder what beauty I am missing right now in my life. Because I am staring at dead wood, not at living matter. Will it take a destructive wind and a change of seasons to show off the beauty I’m missing?