How to list…

For most of my life, I was good at making lists.  Creative, even.  When I wanted to exercise, I made lists of what I could do; a list protected me from becoming bored, and then, no longer exercising.  When I wanted to lose a few pounds, I made a shopping list before I went to the grocery, and I made sure I only bought what was on the list.  When I took a night class in communications at the University while working full time, I lived my life by following what was on my carefully crafted list.  Later, when I had work that allowed me to set my own schedule daily and weekly, I made a list at the beginning of each day, and had the satisfaction of crossing out what I did during each day.

Now, I know  a “list” of a different sort.  The birch tree I love (and the tree that returns my love), lists elegantly to the right.  I love its list.  I am accustomed to that sway, the elegant list, as if I had caught my friend mid-step as it danced alone, not expecting to be seen.  I have the luxury of those few precious moments that are needed to relish that sway, the list.  I compose lines of poems in my mind when I am walking, lines that include the precious word, “list.”

I expect that life has always been this rich, but I was so often like a beggar, empty hands pressed forward, hoping for a few crumbs of beauty.

Now, I see beauty wherever I look:  the sky turns turquoise for a few moments in the evening, I remember the face of someone I love, who I will not see, ever again, I watch for long minutes the sliver of sunlight on the west side of the eucalyptus tree across the street, not looking down for fear the sun will no longer light that place.


And I notice, daily, with pleasure, the list of my faithful companion, the birch tree, which bends so gently, without pain, to the right.  Today, I saw a little bird enjoy that place, too.  After a few moments, the bird was gone, rain fell.  My tree, my friend, listed, to my delight.



4 thoughts on “How to list…”

  1. Wonderful, Mary Elyn. I love your picture of your listing birch tree and the listing branch on your table — very peaceful.


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