Standing Tall Despite Change

Monday, May 18, 2020
When I was growing up, in the early 80's, a group of neighborhood kids and I would ride our bikes from our homes in town out to Point Beach State Forest which was over 10 miles away. We would spend the day hiking, biking, swimming, and laying on the sandy beach planning our next great adventure. We would often take different routes just to keep things interesting. There was one particular route I loved because right smack dab in the middle of a farm field stood a majestic tree. I would ask my friends if we could take a rest and we would sit in the shade of her branches with our backs resting against her strong trunk. I would ask "why do you think they cleared all the rest of this land but let this tree stay?". We had our theories but never really knew for sure. We guessed that the large tree was very old and she likely held many secrets.

Fast forward to today. I still enjoy riding my bike although I don't think I'd be able to bike 20 miles round trip with much energy for swimming or other shenanigans and I now prefer a swimming pool to sand in my swim bottoms, but I still get a little curious when I see a lone tree in a farm field. Lucky for me, I have my very own farmer who I thought might hold the answer to my very old question.

Mark: "Why are you taking pictures of that tree?"

Me: "She sure is beautiful, isn't she?"

Mark: "Umm....ok....but it might be easier to work the field if  the tree wasn't right in the center."

Me: "Why is it there anyway? I've always wondered that."

Mark: "I think in most cases, there were 2 smaller fields or a small field and a pasture separated by some sort of fence line. As farms got bigger and needed more land, they combined the areas to work them with large machines. They probably removed lots of the smaller trees and posts, but sometimes it's more hassle to remove a large tree, so they leave it."

Me: "Well,  I really think it must be wonderful to be that tree. She probably has lots of secrets and I think we should have our lunch right there once she has all her leaves."

Mark: "You're pretty cute."

Now I have my answer and I'm pretty blessed to have a patient husband who answers all of my questions and listens to my ramblings. I imagine that tree, once surrounded by other trees, maybe cattle grazing beneath her limbs. I imagine her watching as all the other trees and posts were removed. Speculating about the animals leaving and being replaced with loud machinery uprooting the land. That tree, like so many like her became alone in the middle of something she didn't understand. The landscape changed, but her roots remained strongly planted in the soil. The seasons continued to come and go. Unlike the animals and other trees she spent time with each day, the machinery wasn't a constant. She sees the loud machines a few times throughout the year and they don't get too close. It's a drastic change from the daily back scratching the cows would do against her bark.

She is alone, yet she isn't lonely. The sun shines. The wind blows. The birds chirp. The farmer
occasionally rests his weary back against her trunk while sipping his coffee and eating his sandwich. She doesn't really fit in with the cornstalks and alfalfa the farmer grows on alternating years, yet the rustling of the stalks and quiet whispers of the stems are music to her ears. Life has changed and she has changed, yet she still stands tall and proud ready for whatever change may come and ready for whatever secrets someone wants to share.


I'll let you draw your own conclusions about why I feel this tree is so important right now and why I feel so kindred to her.

Are there any elements of nature that inspire you? 
How are you doing with your writing goals right now? 
What about reading? 
What's a great book you've read recently that you think everyone should read?

Leave a comment on this post - we love hearing from YOU!!

and now...a little more about me...

Crystal is the office manager, council secretary, financial secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother, Auntie, babywearing mama, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children, two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, horses Darlin' and Joker, pony Miss Maggie May, and over 250 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal milking cows, riding horses, and riding unicorns (not at the same time), taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books here, and at her own blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade and she has never (not once) been accused of being normal!


Margo Dill said...

Hi Crystal:
I love that your husband answered you like that, and I get why the tree is your kindred spirit right now. AMEN!

I am reading Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker. Oh, so good. :) I also read a detective book by Mark Dawson called The House in the Woods--I also loved it.

Writing is going okay. When I get to work on it, it is going well, but the days are so disorganized right now

Angela Mackintosh said...

Crystal ~ The lone tree standing in the middle of a field, or on top of a hill with nothing around, is an image I'm drawn to as well. I always want to hike to that tree and enjoy her shade. She may seem lonely, but what we don't see is her inner strength--her deep roots spreading beneath the earth. :)

Nature inspires me every day. The parks and beaches just opened up last weekend. I immediately went for a walk around a lake in a wildlife reserve, and there were so many animals sunning themselves on the trail like they finally had a chance to reclaim their land. It was beautiful.

I've been doing fifteen-minute freewrites every morning. I just ordered Deep Creek, a memoir by Pam Houston, after hearing her doing a reading. Also, our very own Sioux just sent me a memoir! So two memoirs I'm excited to dig into. I've also been reading The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, which falls under hybrid, auto-theory; and I just opened Dancing Between the Beats, a novel by Lynn Nicholas, a writer in our WOW community.

I love the B&W photo! :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

That is so interesting because I too am drawn to the tree in the field.

We have to give people very specific instructions on where to leave the highway for the gravel county road. The turn recommended by the GPS is the old lane, still marked by a tree row and huge concrete gateposts, one of which has toppled.

For the past two weeks, I've been doing more reading than writing. I'm currently reading The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St. Clair. Yes, I am a textile geek although I only recently started weaving.

Now off to get a bit of reading in.

Juli Seyfried said...

I laughed at the contrast between writer envisioning possibilities and down to earth, practical farmer explaining the no nonsense reason for leaving the tree! Always wondered why trees or small groves of trees were left in the middle of a field that is being farmed. Born and raised in the Midwest, I never knew that. I love a writer's take on a tree alone in a field - so many great stories!!

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