Cherry Tree in the Winter

I guess it’s technically spring now, but it just goes to show how long it’s been since I first started this post–and wrote nothing on it–until now. So many things have been going on that I just haven’t had time to blog. One is a new series’ focus at eco-fiction, which I’ll announce shortly. Another is that when there is free time, I have been writing my own novels, working, or trying to roll out, which opened in late 2017, and which the Writer’s Workshop portion is still being worked on. I’ve also been busy getting Marissa Slaven’s novel Code Blue to the printer.

In my downtime, also, I carry on my dad’s tradition of staying up with politics, which he got from his grandmother CC, who was a newshound. This does have to do with a cherry tree budding in the winter, so just hang on.

Every single day since Trump was elected has been a three-ring circus and a show of strange division and tribalism and complicity that I never would have thought could exist in such large waves in the country where I was born. I have read the news every day, and every day it is something new and utterly shocking. The rise of nationalism, white supremacy, hatred, gun violence, racism, climate change denialism and silence, deregulations of  environmental and fiscal responsibility, unfair immigration reform, talks of walls, terribly written tweets, misogyny, irrational statements, downright lies, and so many other things–it just seems that one sane person can put up with so much of that, you know? The dumbing down of America is real and hard to fathom. I’ve had the past two weeks off from work, so have been paying attention to the news cycle more than usual, and there are so many big distractions on any given hour that one thing does not stick totally for long–but just adds up to a rotating collage of insanity where somewhere therein lies the bent spine of democracy, and somewhere there also lie the people trying to protect democracy.

How in the world does one deal with all this? I guess you could ignore what’s happening in the world, but I’ve always been the type to want to know what’s happening everywhere. To be sucked into this and not go completely hopeless is where the cherry tree story comes in.

I bought this Ojochin cherry tree last spring from the biotech department where I work. They were selling rare clones of Japanese cherry tree (saplings) for twenty bucks. There was a huge lineup, and I got a sapling just in time before they ran out. I potted the tree, then repotted it into a bigger pot, and then let it sit all last winter on our deck. Last winter was a snowy one. Think of the rainy season in Vancouver and then drop a few degrees–that was our winter, several feet of snowfalls, one after another, until March. Strangely, right after the first snowfall, in November, I noticed one tiny blossom on the sapling. This past summer my husband planted the tree in the back yard, and it grew from about two feet to four feet or so. (This is the same tree I began to water one day in late summer when a bear roamed into the back yard.) This winter, we’ve had mostly rain, with just a couple snowfalls. And it was during our most recent snow, when I had a snow day at work, that I got a close-up photo of the tree’s buds.

The budding in the winter reminds me of integrity and promise. I feel that we, as a people, need to keep our eyes open on the world around us, that we have to understand its failings and stay out of the traps, that when we personally or are widely struck down by others trying to divide with walls, we have to stand taller than walls. That we have to recognize division, hatred, paranoia, lies, cult-like personalities, and speak out, rather than remaining silent. It was Albert Einstein who said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

It feels good to stand tall and blossom, even in the darkest season.


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