It can be difficult to take stock of what’s on hand, when things have been allowed to slip into disarray.  Hard to stay on task as our attention wanders so far away from itself.  If only we expected ourselves to be less sensible, more improvisational.

How to maintain checks and balances, how to keep oneself in the counting house while there is so much to learn, such an infinite multitude of things to be amazed by?

We are surrounded by teachers.

Take, for instance, the Norway maple.  Not only does it flourish in central Europe, but also east of France and on into Russia.  Not only does it grace southwest Asia with its presence, but also my back yard here at the western edge of New England.

Shallow grooves intersect, all along her greyish bark.  She has the rounded crown one would expect from such an emerald queen whose hair yellows in autumn.  She starves other plants of moisture, and forgivably so.

I say forgivably, because a little unintended cruelty – such as the self-imposed kind that comes with attempting to take an inventory of one’s life – appears to me to be the way of the world: animal, plant, human, or otherwise.


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