It’s All About the Tree

Fifteen minutes and I have to leave for the courthouse.  I have on my purple hippy skirt and the turquoise necklace and earrings that The Bride, our older daughter, gave me to wear at her wedding last month.  And I’m trying to keep hay off of my sweater.

I’ve already opened the aviary and fed the hens oatmeal leftovers and bread crumbs.  I’ve removed the broody Kimber from a nest box, raked the poop under the roost into the peat moss, and added some cracked corn to the feeder, and I’m still relatively pristine.

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Now I pour one cup of dry cob grain into each of the three goats’ bowls, and stuff handfuls of orchard hay, at arms’ length, into the two feeders.  Morning chores.

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The early morning sky is mottled gray and looks swollen to the south.  The grass is wet as I cross the backyard in my waterproof boots.  I pull up my skirt as I stomp up the new deck steps.  The four-foot diameter cedar tree, which is just five feet off of our house, is encircled by new deck, designed by His Majesty who is back in college in Colorado where torrential rain and floods are making national news.

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I let Garfield out of the hut.  He stretches and trots off to the bean, zucchini and cucumber garden, which I must harvest this week.

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Autumn has arrived.  We had thunder and lightning yesterday, alder leaves rained down, and the Bearded One is in a mad dash to get this new deck finished.

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Today he’s staying home and working on the railings, including a cut-out to allow for easy tree hugging.  Friday he went with me to Port Orchard and Bremerton where we figured out the truth — our marriage certificate isn’t the proper official one and is too old to quality for name changing purposes anyway — so we got the forms and the court date instructions.  I’m off to Port Orchard, fifteen minutes northwest, for a real deal hearing before a judge.

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*  *  *

George Washington’s face peeks out from the draping Washington State flag in the front right corner of the windowless courtroom where I sit waiting.

This is a room of judgment.  It is white and solemn, serious and formal.  There are forms and strategy and winners and losers, good and evil, love and power.  I think of Adam and Eve and the Bearded One and me, and the judge walks in.  “All rise!” the bailiff shouts.

A middle-aged woman named Cindy enters in a black robe.  She has shoulder-length brownish graying hair, parted on the side.  She is tall, and she doesn’t wear glasses.  “Good morning,” she says and smiles briefly.  “Thank you.  Please sit.”  She is Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Judgment, and I am called first.  I walk to the podium, which is beside the state flag with the cherry-tree chopping George, here to remind us that we are not supposed to lie.

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The judge asks me to raise my right hand and promise to tell the truth.  I do this, and am aware that no Bible is involved.  Not that I want one, actually, but I’m struck that she is willing to take my word without involving any gods.

She asks me about Item Number Three on the name-change petition.  A double negative involving fraud that instantly scrambles in my brain, I don’t know if my answer is yes or no, so I dig deep for words.  It seems to be asking if I’m a con artist.

“I. Have. ”  I gesture.  She looks at me, actually takes my measure, and I think of two more words.  “I. Have. No. Ill…” Then I’m chasing the last word out of the depths — “Intent.”

The judge laughs out loud, as does the whole room.  I am asked to state my case, which I do at length, and then I am dismissed to the clerk for paperwork.

*   *   *

The Bearded One greets me on the new deck with a long kiss.  He smells good.  He calls me Christi Glover, and we kiss again.

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And then he tells me that His Majesty called.  “He’s fine,” says the Bearded One.  “He says they’re calling it a 100-year-flood, and that Boulder Creek, which runs through campus, is a river.”  The cross-walk bridges that normally rise 15 feet over the water are now completely submerged.  Classes are cancelled.

“He wanted to talk about the deck and the pictures we sent.  He really likes the railings.  All the weird joints we rigged.”

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“I do, too.”  I’m walking up the steps now to the top level.  Whale-bone sized cedar branches curve down low, and shelter the deck from the rain.  I turn onto the top walkway, which is narrow like a ship’s bow.  The railing is cut to accommodate the ancient tree, home to birds and raccoons and chipmunks.

My sandals are sticky with sap, and I look back down at my sweetheart.  I feel like we’re brand new, starting in Eden.  The first man and the first woman.

The Bearded One smiles back and says, “It’s all about the tree.”

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26 responses to “It’s All About the Tree

  1. Lovely post Christi and so glad your son is safe amongst the floods. Loving the picture of Garfield looking up at the tree. Is he wondering if he could just get up a little bit higher? 😀

  2. Congratulations on the adam and eve thing.

  3. What a lovely post, Christy! I am happy for you on all counts.
    (BTW, My camera does that too, and it is truly annoying!)

  4. Oooh, another heart one for me.
    You in your perfectly drawn purple hippie skirt (which is so you) putting hay into the feeders before you leave to begin the legal name change process. I remember your wedding – spring flowers blooming, fiddle and hurdy-gurdy playing, baby’s breath in your hair, the Bearded One in his red tie and jeans. HIs Majesty so little standing by you, your arms around him the entire time you and the Bearded One spoke your vows.
    Lover – now Glover.
    Now a married daughter.
    The family tree.
    Our lives continue to branch out.

    • His Majesty had just turned 6, and yes, he is married to us. lol We remind him of this when it’s convenient.

      And what a glorious poem, Christine! Thank you. I must do something special and lovely with it…perhaps write it on the wall just inside the door out to the tree…hmmmm 🙂

  5. “All the weird joints we rigged” a perfect analogy for life and for how you are joining yourselves together piece by piece, fitting like a glove(er) (sorry…couldn’t resist 😉 ) and forging your future with nails of trust and truth. I loved todays post Christi, I loved the deck building, the hurrying for the rain, the court room and your sweet honesty. I think to myself that you are like Kelsey, that wonderful sweet Texan girl that we have welcomed into our home with open arms. We tease her gently and she looks at us in a startled way until she realises that we are “with” her and she is part of is all. The courtroom was “with” you and you ARE part of it all :). We saw those floods all the way over here on the other side of the world so they MUST be something big. I love that picture of Garfield so much… I KNOW he is hunting and watching for tasty treats but it looks like he is communing with the tree and taking it’s measure. Hugs for your new name, your united Eve to the E.P.’s Adam and “heres mud in your eye” for the coming rains (thats an old drink raising cheer here in Australia, thought I had best clarify that comment! 😉 ).

    • Ooooo, I love your wordsmithing, Fran! It’s fun and exciting to see you take hold of any image and grow it — just one of the things I love about you. I didn’t even think of the joints fitting together like family. Cool. And I just started your blog today ( http://www.theroadtoserendipity.wordpress.com) and see that Stewart got an ungettable job in Tasmania and that he and Kelsey are moving there! I feel as if I know Kelsey just because she’s from Texas. lol We share something basic that we’ve had to manage somehow. 🙂 The flooding in Colorado was pretty spectacular. His Majesty is a Civil Engineering major with the focus of water management! Hands on experience. Thanks again for your lovely comment, and bring on the rain. I’m ready for a fire in the woodstove. 🙂 As the world turns.

  6. This post will stand forever to remind me that there is true love, in all it’s aspects, alive and well and living somewhere north of Texas. Thank you dear Christi for another happy start to my Thursday morning 🙂

  7. Lovely post, glad your son is safe, awesome deck, true love is grand and congrats on your official name change! I’m glad your hearing was a fun experience, too! I would give anything to beat this heat and be able to look out at majestic trees like that! 🙂 I love the shot of Garfield on the new, awesome deck! It’s a wonderful life! 🙂

  8. This is why I put up with pasty, white men in a windowless building in Maryland looking at my Internet stuff. Because my daughter and Christi’s daughter thought we should be friends I now have a window to a world that pleases me no end, and a jar of jam on my kitchen counter that tells me that it really exists, just across the Sound. And I’ve been, not to Dunedin, but to Invercargill (really!) in search of the Bluff oysters that we did not find because it was coming on winter and the seas were too rough for the oystermen to go out. We are woven together like the webs I break with my face every morning when I go out to, yes, feed the chickens. Thank you!

    • Oh, Lisa, the webs have woven us together, cyberly and spiderly! I am also amazed at your world travels…Invercargill oysters, Madagascar (?) with Page’s walker… I hope we meet some day, too. You’re welcome to venture over here to Olalla any time!

  9. What a gorgeous tree, we have nothing that size up in the north west of Scotland.
    And I was fascinated by the name change palaver. In Scotland you basically just decide you’re changing it, then tell people what you want to be called!

    • We have a “Common Law” name change here, too. But I couldn’t take advantage of it for my driver’s license or Social Security (federal gov), so says the Powers That Be, because my documents (marriage certificate) were so old. I had to pay $120, including 3 copies of the official form! Palaver!! MONEY! But it’s done and I’m “legal.” Hugs to you in Scotland. 🙂

  10. Hello! I’m new to your blog. I found you by doing a search on “diy root cellars”. I started reading from that post backwards, an odd way to go about it. I’m so sorry about the chickens. I was eager to read about when you started picking them up. I cracked up over your description of the chicks. The avocado seeds were a perfect tribute. And, Ruby. sniff I teared up when I started reading – my sympathies for your loss. I love your writing style and descriptions. I can visualize the scene with your descriptions and the Bearded One’s pictures. I live in the lesser known, treeless Eastern Washington Gardening is a pleasure for me and, one day, I’d love to have chickens too. I’m glad to get a peek into your life, thank you.

    • Welcome and thank you, Kelly! I was typing this response and the power went out…first day of fall is here. I hope you do eventually get chickens. Ours our moulting now and we’re lucky if we get one egg a day. It’s the way of chickens. Who knew? And for the record, I love Eastern Washington.:)

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