There is no need to rush: a prompt

Happy Friday Folks,

Today it seems the world has cracked open and both the sun and the trees have come out blinding. It is beautiful. I kept hearing that word on repeat as I drove: beautiful, beautiful. I rolled the windows down and inhaled the air, remembering how lucky I am to be here, like this, right now.

Then I got stopped and I watched as a construction crew— quickly, deftly— chopped down one of the trees on the side of the road. There was a whole pile of them lying there, lifeless, and it struck me that in a few hours they would all be gone to clear the way for a new apartment complex, a new shopping center. Watching the tree’s branches splay out as it fell, it seemed something within me toppled over too.

I’ve been thinking about trees a lot lately. I have always felt most at home in the midst of them, especially the time of year when they burst open green, which this year has seemed to come later with the early March snowfall we still had here in North Carolina. I recently rewrote the novel I have been working on, and in the new draft, much of the story centers around a pine forest and the imaginary god who lives inside of it, drawing people in through dreams to his community, asking them for sacrifice so that eventually he will rise once more. It’s speculative and rooted in the strange stories of this place, but as I drive to work through the pine forests each day, all I can think is that the pines were here first, they are here now, and they will be here long after I am gone. There’s a kind of comfort in that, I think. It makes my life feel both impossibly small, and it also makes me feel as though it is okay to take my time and allow what is meant to emerge to grow on its own.

I was also reminded of this beautiful— and heartbreaking— poem one of my seventh graders wrote recently:

The poem follows the life cycle of a tree, and it feels especially poignant in all of this. I am, in real time, watching branches that were bare of buds five days ago sprout open. All I can think is that I am sprouting to. There is a season for everything. There is no need to rush.

Your prompt this week is to choose a life cycle of something. It could be a type of tree, or you could choose another part of nature. Or you could go beyond nature, and think about the life cycle of a computer, of a shopping mall, of any other kind of thing that rises and falls. Then tell that story.