Just outside of town, the empty fields are ringed with trees that have been marked. You can see it even at a distance: a perfectly horizontal line marking every tree for miles.
It’s the high-water mark.
Above the line, foliage is green and growing. Below the line both bark and treeless branches are covered with a grayish-brown film like the haze left on the sides of a bathtub with a too-slow drain.
In a few days or weeks or months, the highwater mark will have faded. While images of the flood will remain lodged in this community’s living memory for quite some time, soon we will no longer be able to point and say, “The water got clear up to here!”
Every time I drive past these two-tone trees, I consider the high-water marks of life: the milestones or transitions or moments that marked both the beginning and the end.
Twenty years ago this month, I was graduating high school: a high-water mark, too be sure. In the fall, my twenty-year class reunion will be held – strangely enough – on the day of the my 38th birthday. There’s some strange irony in that.
In honor of life’s high-water marks, here is a quote from Scott Simon (of NPR). It reminds me that not all of life’s transitions can be marked by a cap and gown; not all of our beginnings /endings are moments for pomp and circumstance.
“Let life change you. You’ve worked hard and learned a lot. But if you live well, you’re going to know love, loss, confusion and failure—life’s truest teachers. Real life can shatter certainties like a delicate cup in a tornado. Keep learning. Be inconsistent. Don’t have a rich, full life only to wind up at 40 with the same convictions you had when you were 20. Let life in.” (Scott Simon on NPR)
This is reposted from the other blog I contribute to:
I tried. I really did.
I wanted to post a thoughtful reflection on this blog on Friday (which is my usual day to post) … but it’s as though my brain has gone all fuzzy. (It might be wrackspurts, but I don’t think so.)
Our blog is called Wholly (Holy) Ordinary … and we attempt to notice the holiness of ordinary moments. But as I look around at the floodwaters on every side, my brain just stops working.
This week – instead – I offer you a visual meditation. As I was taking these photos, the phrase “a road to nowhere” kept popping up in my head. Note that everywhere there is currently water in these photos, there is usually (completely) dry land.
(this is one of those tall roadside billboards)