"For with God, nothing will be impossible."
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February 4, 2012
Winter Trees: The Lovely Bones
Naked is in.
When trees get chilly, they strip down til they're wearing not a stitch.
Lately, their wooden skeletons strike me as important and dignified without the leafy finery that hides their bones in green seasons, and I've been trying to figure out why I've become obsessed with them.
They make me think of the book The Lovely Bones.
The book is not just about a girl who is raped and murdered and who narrates her own story; it's about the shockwaves that hit parents when their child goes missing.
The title was a spider's web to me. I couldn't wait to find out what "the lovely bones" were. And there it was, near the end:
"These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events my death brought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous lifeless body had been my life." (Alice Sebold)
An unthinkable and crushing event splintered a family, and the various reactions of its members immediately started to form a new framework to support the new life (resurrection!) that always appears.
Naked trees seem to reflect the invisible, miraculous, fragile frameworks--the bones--that hold everything in place. Those connections--love, really--are beautiful in part because they are so fragile in places. Yet they're awe-inspiringly strong, too, in ways we often can't see.
Right away, a sad event occurred. Without my armor, there was nothing to hide behind. I felt exposed with the kind of contrast a winter tree is so famous for. Nothing hidden. Every tiny branch visible.
But I also saw a new path, and when I took it, I began to see in nature what my spirit visualized: a new definition of beauty and strength in middle age, and love for the underlying structures that make women lovely and interesting at this time in their lives.
Aren't the lovely bones of us an absolute wonder?
The wet dawn inks are doing their blue dissolve.
On their blotter of fog the trees
Seem a botanical drawing --
Full of wings, otherworldliness.