Believing in New Shoots

Apr 4, 2020 | Growing Life

Something new is springing up; we’re moving to a new state, getting to know a new town, rooting into a new community and while it’s exciting there is a bittersweetness. We’ve spent 29 years walking these creaky, oak floors and sharing one shower upstairs, boiling glass baby bottles and drying them overnight on these counters, watching each child come around the upstairs hall corner in footsie pajamas, just a little bit taller with each passing year.

We removed the corkscrew willow tree (which was dying) and put in a gigantic perennial garden marking each plant with an identifying stake. Our kids grew their first tomatoes and basil while the squirrels traversed the fence and ate all our corn. Even in their twenties, our sons climbed to the top of the gigantic Norway Spruce trees and cut out the branches so they could take in the view of our entire town. One summer afternoon, the boys coaxed me up there and what did I see? Nothing but a green canopy. Everything, even the houses and streets disappeared from view, except for the trees. With a mere seventy foot climb my entire perspective changed. All concrete and cars, gone. I’d spent over two decades taking in a myopic, street level view. Little did I know the freedom lying in wait at the top of those trees for those willing to take the risk. I’m thankful for people who push me to reach “further up and further in” and that gets at the heart of what’s hard about digging up roots, it means saying goodbye to the other plants in our garden, our people.

There are a handful who’ve brought out the best in us and sat beside us in our worst. They challenged us to live with meaning and purpose. They gave us their loyalty and love, their already overextended hearts. Our next- door neighbors came over the day we arrived home from the hospital and held and admired each precious new addition to our family. Our pastor and his wife were the first people we called when my husband lost his job. Our wine drinking friends commiserated with us and celebrated teenage trials and triumphs. Our travel buddies loved our daughter and even came to see her dance in her new city with her first dance company, who does that? We’ve laughed until we cried about summer camp experiences, our kids getting lost together and backpacking their way through homesickness and swarms of mosquitos. These are people you actually want to spend your summer vacation time with. Why would we leave them?

The answer lies in trusting the underground work and the above the treeline vista. We’ve lived many springs and we know that the hyacinth and daffodil do not fail. We know that snowdrops bloom the last week of February, regardless of the weather and we hear the first cardinal summoning his mate right around Valentine’s Day each year. We can trust the unseen worker for new friends, a new job, our new place in this world because “He is making all things new.”

I bought a bouquet at Christmas with corkscrew willow branches as an accent. After the amaryllis flowers died I went outside to throw the bouquet away, but noticed that one of the branches generated roots. All that work going on inside the vase as we opened our presents and entertained our guests with Door County Cherry Bounce cocktails. Long after Christmas returned to basement boxes, I planted the new tree in a pot and here on the cusp of spring I own a new tree. A piece of home to carry to our new home. We cut down a corkscrew willow over 25 years ago and now we leave with a new one.  New life, new adventures, new hope in what we may find out there on the lake…

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!” ― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle