Monday, January 2, 2012

A Surprising and Tree-mendous Decision

One of my dear friends and I have a tradition of coming up with a word for the new year. It's kind of like a guiding principle that over-arches what we'd like to accomplish in the coming months. We share it with each other and then spend the rest of the year using it to remind and encourage each other through whatever life decides to toss our way. It's a comforting ritual and a useful one, too. Two years ago, hers was "Health", mine was "Embrace the Hotness". Last year hers was "Action", mine was "Clarity". This year, she has come up with two separate, but related and perfect words for her year and I have been completely dumbstruck. I have had a general idea of what I want to spend the year working towards, but like most things that are worth describing, it has been difficult to pinpoint a word.

This evening I was loitering about the garage and thinking that perhaps I had achieved perfection and that's why I hadn't thought of anything yet. This is a lie. I was thinking that I was so bogged down in my own head that I couldn't see the light of day so instead I stared out into my windy, soggy, muddy back yard and let go of the reigns for a bit. Surprise, surprise! My mind galloped up immediately to a juicy apple of a word and munched away. I wonder when I will ever learn that I need to let go of the reigns from time to time? That's a whole other post.

My word for this year is tree.
For 2012, I would like to be a tree.
I want to draw nourishment from my roots: my faith, my family, my core.
I want to be steadfast and strong.
I want to be able to sway in my extremities. To maintain the sort of flexibility that keeps me from snapping even in the most torrential winds, while still keeping my feet firmly planted in the ground where I've chosen to stand.
I want to provide shelter and protection to those who need it.
I want to be useful.
I want to age beautifully.
I want to reach outward and upward to the sky and accept the rain, the sun, the wind and possibly the squirrels gracefully.
I want to accept the seasons of change that inevitably come and to do it in the way I was meant to.
I want small children to climb on me and seek solace in me.
I want to shed the dead things when the time comes to do so and to grow new fruit in its time, too.
I want to be constant. I want to be grounded. I want to be solid.
Most of all, I want to remember that I am surrounded by a forest: from saplings to gnarled old trees, to the nurse logs of the trees who have fallen but continue to give of themselves for new growth. I want to remember that I'm not a lone tree on an unprotected hillside, I'm part of a network of roots and shoots and branches of many who surround me. I want to see the forest and the trees.

Another friend of mine is a tattoo artist who has promised me a tattoo whenever he makes it out this way. My tattoo has been decided upon years ago. It's a tree. A lovely, twisted, strong tree.
This is it. The year of the tree.


  1. Awesome!!

    I love the ideas that you listed that go along with being a tree. Especially, shedding dead things and growing new fruit.

    Good luck with NaBloPoMo!

  2. I gave you two like buttons, both the "oaky with a hint of plum" and "berry undertones" both sounded tree-y to me.

  3. Hello, tree! I chose balance for 2012. Let's encourage each other!

  4. This is a beautiful post, and one that I will read over and over. Thank you.

  5. I love it, and as always, I love your open and creative ways of describing things. Tree is a perfect way to be. I would LOVE to hear how "embrace the hotness" turned out. :)

    My word, or theme, for last year was "(over)exposed". It came out of no where, it was exciting as hell, and it changed me completely. I have some goals for the new year that will help shape my word, but nothing clear yet. I wrote all about it in my end of the year post.

    Happy New Year, Tangled Lou!

  6. As one of the gnarled old trees in your forest, I appreciated being included. I like to think of being able to relax in the shade of the more energetic and creative of trees, while I allow some of that wisdom to sweep outwardly from my thinning branches, and porous bark. I'm waiting, I'm waiting. Doggone it, where did I store all of that wisdom? I had it here just a decade or so ago. Sigh. I agree with Judy. I'll need to revisit periodically to renew my faith.

  7. I posted the above comment at 12:12, and it is now 3:12, and I have posted something that was inspired by your writing above. There is a cause and effect here, and I am sure glad for the resulting equation. Thank you.

    Oh my goodness: my verification word was "notabl."

  8. LOVE every line of this.
    A) you know "embrace the hotness" is more than word, and I dig it baby.
    B) your reigns and apple metaphor is just scrumptious Can't wait to read that post.
    C) a tree may be one of the loveliest images for how to live, well done. Very Biblical and I think Shel Silverstein would be proud too. Happy New Year!!

  9. As always, the words you choose are...perfect. And inspiring. Wishing you much tree-ness in 2012:)

  10. I would never have picked it for you, but I can't think of any other word that better suits. Bravo! This may be the year the treetat finds you, too! I will be the firefly that visits at dusk...i will be the traveller who camps in your forest for a time...i will be the sister seed growing in distant earth carried by the wind...

  11. Here's to the year of the tree. I'm starting to think that trees are trying to tell me something. I am as always behind in my reading of The Sun magazine so I just read the September issue which included a piece about trees that you might enjoy, if you haven't seen it already.

    There's a teaser online and back issues aren't terribly expensive if you'd like to read the rest.

  12. Mark told me in his early morning email that you had written a masterful piece and he was right. This is amazing, Tree. There is a long ago made for tv type movie called Tree (or something like it). I am going to research the details for you b/c I think you might like it. I want to think about his word thing too. I will get lost in the choices, I know, but maybe, if I don't try to hard to make it the PERFECT word, I can do it. I do need to give myself a deadline, though, or the quest for perfection will quash the word.
    I hope I get to be in the forest around you!

  13. Oh, and, I am so with you on embrace the hotness! If only there was some hotness...... :)

  14. Your words and thoughts are always beautiful, and this example is no exception. I've always loved and felt a special kinship with trees. Still do.

  15. When I first read you word I thought - what?
    But of course, as you explain it in such an eloquent way, it makes soooo much sense now. my word in retrospect seems so lame ;) It's CHANGE.
    But then, it does represent all that 2012 will hopefully be for me... yea, no pressure!

  16. I love your word for 2012! I could "feel" and "see" your tree as you were describing it. Beautiful!

  17. Wonderful! Now I want a word... I love to read everything you write. Even if I don't have time to leave a comment, know that I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to your posts each day!

  18. Oh, some of my favorite trees in the forest have shown up to give me love! Thank you all! I am honored, indeed, by your presence here and excited to see what the new year brings for each of you.
    And Masked Mom, I read that teaser and WOW.

  19. Hear! Hear! To the year of the tree!


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