Bald cypress, RGR.I’m getting ready to move to a new house. As I pack, I reflect on all the other places where I’ve lived and what each place felt like. The “spirit of place” at the house where I’ve lived for the past year lives in an old, huge, bald cypress tree. It dominates the yard, the canal and all other mature trees around. It has its own symphony of birds, ants and wind. In its shade, time slows down. A microclimate envelopes and nourishes everything around it. This is what this tree gave me on the eve of my move:   

…I’m just out here playing on the margin, walking the fence. I’m a human bridge between the old and the new. I’m a transition. I’m the amorphous seed holding together both the old brown leaf and the new green leaf on the cypress tree. I hold both firmly and keep them alive.

One morning, I was wondering how people write so personally about their ancestors; as if they were narrating their own lives. Then I opened the back door and walked to the bald cypress. The tree extended one branch and handed me a brown leaf. It’s summer, the brown leaf should have fallen off months ago, so I thought I’d help by pulling. The brown leaf, the white seed AND the new green leaf all came off in my hand. Now I’ve done it. I started to ask forgiveness of the tree. But this tree is 100 feet tall, is probably about 100 years old and has seen it all. He meant to bend down, hand me that leaf and answer my question. I kept the leaf to help me reflect on my mother and my grandmothers. Later, I started to feel like the seed in the middle; holding past and present (and future?) in one firm grasp.