I was sitting on a green plastic lounge chair.
It was autumn, and I was looking out at a tall meadow of sumac, golden rod, and bee balm.
It was a foggy morning, not quite drizzling. I could hear the birds sing over the low rumble of distant highway noise.
I was especially enchanted by a birch tree at the edge of the meadow.
I loved her gray-white-papery bark.
I loved her lilting leaves in the breeze.
Though I was seeing the leaves move, it was more like I was hearing them sing.
The birch tree's branches stretched upward toward the sky, and I wondered what it would be like to be a tree becoming itself.
To have leaves unfurl naturally, without trying to force them to do so. To have my cells turn me into bark or roots.
I imagined what it would be like to live such an unapologetic existence. “Here I am,” she said. There was no question, no shame, no shrinking. There she was. Being herself.
I wondered how far her roots extended. They could've be under me, plowing through the earth, connecting to the family of the forest.
Dryad – that’s the name for a spirit who inhabits trees.
When I felt the dryad of the birch tree that day, I felt love-power. She would never apologize for her spirit, for her work in the world.
I love thinking about this moment and that birch tree, because I want the same for me. I want to unapologetically be myself, rooted into the earth, stretching my arms to the sky, existing, without a word of sorry.
As I remember her leaves singing, I am bolstered. I will continue on, as the birch tree continues on, standing in who I am, tall and strong.
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