Tapering Time


October 9, 2013 by updatedhomemaker


The old neighborhood tree

As I have passed by this old neighborhood tree on many a walk, it always gets me thinking about all the times it has stood through.  Now it stands with its branches trimmed and leaves barely grow forth even in the height of summer.  Knotty branches and crooks in its armor remain.  Still it exudes strength.  It is at the end of life.

031It makes me reflect on my recent journey with my mother to Arizona to explore retirement options.  She is approaching the later years of her life.  She is taking time to form the vision of what she would like her later years of life to look like.  Talking about later years mean there will be an end to the years.  That is hard to think about.  Intertwined with the end is all the life she wishes to yet live.  She wants a sense of community. She wants to view the beauty of nature.  She wants to connect with people with mutual interests.  She wants less work and more fun.  I can relate to all of these wants.  My specific wish list may look a bit different, but I respect my mom’s wishes, her life and her time.


The old drive to the garden center

The old tree has had an ever changing community around it.   It is a survivor.  When I arrived here eight years ago, there was a closed garden center sitting in its shadow. The building has since been torn down and the overgrown patches of the concrete drive and parking lot remain.  The old tree was able to remain as space was made for the expansion of a two lane highway to a four lane highway.


The foundation of a torn down home.

A little way down the road, a home was torn down to make way for the road’s expansion.  For a while, a pile of bricks from the demolished fireplace stood on its cracked concrete foundation.  Now there is only the cracked and overgrown concrete foundation remaining.  Etched into the corner of the concrete is the name Lucy from 1959.  I wonder if she could imagine the fate of the once new home.

Lucy-1-1959 Zimm Const


It is hard to predict the future, but we all try to plan for it, survive and thrive.   Like the old tree that no longer has the energy to produce many leaves, my mother’s energy is less than it used to be for major undertakings.  Their limbs no longer bend with the ease they once used to.  They don’t stand as tall as they once did, but still are remarkable and unique.  They have made a place in the world.  Their experiences are similar in having felt life, youth, growth, change, and the weathering of storms that have left a mark.  They provided protection for the now mature around them while they were growing.  Now they are protected by the younger around them.

The old tree being sheltered by the younger trees around it.

The old tree being sheltered by the younger trees around it.

This post is part of a brave blogging link-up that’s part of Liv Lane’s How To Build a Blog You Truly Love ecourse. As a participant, I was challenged to step outside my comfort zone and share something with you that felt especially brave.  See all our submissions here: http://blog.livlane.com/2013/10/feeding-the-feelings/

8 thoughts on “Tapering Time

  1. I really loved your comparison of the tree to your Mother’s experience. I guess at some point all of our lives become and overgrown place where we once thrived. But our story is still there nonetheless.

  2. Dear Undated Homemaker

    I looked for your name and couldn’t find it, but gosh in the process I discovered that we share the same appreciation for time. Time is precious and I believe it’s the only thing I really own. I simply exchange it for experience. SO, I love this post and your use of trees as an expression and analogy of your mom’s transition to late life. I’m there with her. With you. Your story reminds me of the beautiful cycle of life. It invites me to feel loss, to let it come and pass through me, in a gentle, tree-of-life sort of way. This is such a beautiful, loving post. xo

  3. What a beautiful metaphor of our lives of our elders as the lives of cherished trees. Thank you!

  4. Erin Wahol says:

    Very beautiful perspective of nature and the circle of life. It’s funny how those poignant moments are almost too much to bear, but then it’s so wonderful that your mother has a vision for how she wants her next phase to go. Thank you for a lovely post!

  5. Shelle Hill says:

    I like the analogy of a tree’s strength with that of our strength and I suppose our weaknesses as well. I am touched by this because I recently went through something similar with my Nana. She always was my protector and my teacher. As the years went by, I soon found myself protecting her and being her teacher. Not an easy transition and but certainly one I would not have changed for anything in this great big world. Thank you for this heartfelt post.

  6. As someone who is currently planning their retirement this really resonated, although I absolutely don’t view myself as an elder!

    • I wondered if I would have a reaction from others that are in the retirement stage of life. It was meant to be a beautiful tribute to those that have stood and persevered, whereas the garden center and house are no more.

  7. This is a really beautiful post, Laura! I love the metaphorical theme about observing the inevitable changes and transitions we experience. It makes me want to call my mom right now to express gratitude and set up a lunch date 🙂 Thank you!

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