I am a Minnesota woman. A Northern Minnesota woman, to be exact. As such, I revel in shine on snow, sparkle on lake, and birch backed by blue sky.
We have a cabin in Northern Minnesota. It has been family shelter for near 40 years. It is now in my keeping, and it has needs.
One of them was dealt with yesterday.
Maybe as important as the smell and wrap of the cabin are our neighbors. They have been part of life for seemingly always, and are the kind of people who mark life with grace and laughter and the good of knowing each other mostly unclothed (swim suit dress code, don’t you know).
We have many birch trees on our lot. They are years old, these sentinels, and they are starting to know the power of rot and gravity. One of them has spread its arms over our neighbor’s cabin. Every wind storm I fret. While there are things that can be forgiven in the neighbor department, harpooning someone’s beloved cabin with birch tree parts is not one of them.
So yesterday, we watched three trees come down. I expected to mourn. But instead I am feeling grateful for the years of beauty they provided, the pile of wood waiting to be split and burned to warm us, and the great good of knowing that there will be no roof smashing under my watch.
And there is this: there is more sun! The spaces of sky opened up are wild in their power. Already plans are underway to purchase birch trees to plant. We will tend the future even as we celebrate the power of the past.
For generations to come, there will be birches pointing the white of their witness toward heaven.
Life is good.