Growing Old With Trees

This is a piece written by Canadian musician Jann Arden. I’ve given it the title Growing Older With Trees…

It’s been a good summer, and by good, I mean slow and peaceful mostly. The heat feels wonderful to me, and I know it’s different out where I am- because I live in the trees, LOTS of trees and the temperature is considerably cooler than it is in the city. Trees are my secret weapon out here. I have a few thousand of them and they all work together to keep things comfortable for all of us who live in them -and near them. It’s a marvel of nature for sure. I walk into their mighty, intricate bows and instantly feel calm and comfortable. And what can I say about the air? We don’t consider things like trees very much when we are young, but we do as we climb into the years like we’re going up a little ladder to a camp bunk bed. If you’re lucky enough to to get older, you start seeing the important things around you. You start hearing the birds and you start wanting to stand under the shade cast by a very old tree—why, because it feels like you’re alive, really alive. All the things you thought were important, ten or twenty or thirty years ago, fall away- yes, like leaves falling off of their branches. All the little, sharp toothed things that kept you up at night, stealing your dreams and your rest and your solitude, they finally just wander off to crawl into bed with someone young, who needs them to worry about trivial things, like rent and boyfriends and how much they weigh and whether or not people like them or if they have anything of value to give to this world.

Getting older is a wonderful dream because it’s being able to live with the absence of doubt. The doubt that always used to cast a long shadow on your plans and your confidence and your ability to jump into a big pile of risks. Yes—Doubt will leave you to find the freshly new people….as it always does. It has no time or patience for those of us who have somehow made to the top of the hill.

Getting older lets you saunter happily into everything you used to be afraid of. There is however, a caveat…

One must look after their young body, and I know that can be hard some days, to not stuff smoke into your lungs and pour rum into tall cool glasses of coconut and pineapple and swallow it down with 47 of your closest friends—these things that seem like good ideas as the time….but your young body, will be your old body and you’re going to need it to walk through the trees and stroll through Paris with your baguette and your hard, sweet butterscotch candies and your thermos full of hot earl grey tea.

Ahhhh But yes, the trees.

Find yourself some trees if you can.

And live beneath them or live near them.

Find some quiet in your life.

Put out a bird feeder and watch joy come fluttering around your kitchen window. Take time to be still. We are for whatever reason, handed the idea at a very early stage of the game, that the hustle is the thing, the hustle is the play, the hustle is the only way to get to where you’re going. It’s not. It’s the long, slow walk that will keep you well. I have always been grateful to stand at the side of the road and watch all the hustlers running past me. I don’t even wave, because they don’t see anything but their own doubt.strong text