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Thursday, April 08, 2004

The Tree Outside My Window
I've been stuck in bed for nearly 30 weeks. At the start of this I was too sick to get out, and when I was well enough to get out, my damaged cervix threatened my child's life, so I was not allowed to get out of bed.

I have a large window in my bedroom. Standing in front of the window is an adolescent dogwood tree. At the beginning of this pregnancy the leaves were changing from green to reds, golds and browns.

When you have very little left in life you cling to the things that graft you to the will to fight. I fixated on this tree. Like those flocked, color-changing weather predictors that were so novel in the ‘70s, this tree became my health gauge of sorts.

As I lay in this quilted prison I would roll my eyes towards the tree and repeatedly think to myself: "When all the leaves are gone I will be able to eat again." Daily I eyed the tree and daily another leaf would fall. The transformation to bony skeleton was slow for me and for the tree, but one day I looked out and there it was in all its leafless glory.

And I was eating.

Bed rest began with its myriad tiresome discomforts combined with the vestiges of an illness that does not want to fully release me until the last possible moment. I looked out the window daily and repeated the mantra: "When the tree flowers I will be getting out of bed." The tree has flowered, and I leave my prison in nine days.

Today I looked out the window and saw the "snow" falling. Wilted petals spread out on the ground like picnic blankets for the coming summer. The new leaves on the branches are tender and green. They are yet immature and possess still an unfulfilling sparseness. The days drag on and on.

When my window is green and my special tree dons her beehive coiffure I will be eating and drinking and walking and forgetting all that I have been through.

I will go to the tree, wearing my sleeping daughter on my chest, and I will tie a pink ribbon around the trunk for the world and us in it.

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