Our Cherry tree

So, our home was built around a single cherry tree.
It stood alone in the middle of our coastal block and somehow this simple tree became the centre point of our seasonal life. Standing naked through our dark winters before dressing in soft blossoms through our windy springs. Her cherry-filled branches sheltered us through our hot summers and she painted herself in autumnal golden reds before settling to sleep in bare nakedness again. When we as a family outgrew our home, we were far from outgrowing our tree. So when we decided to knock down the walls we had, in order to re-create the walls of a dream, we told our local trades:
“Build around the cherry.”
Over the course of a year in building a new dream, sketches were made and drawings were done before finally, we picked up our world and moved out. Our cherry tree was wrapped in orange ribbon so as to define her as a no-go zone. Within a week of moving out, our block was swarming with demolition machines. What had taken years to build would be destroyed in about a day. But while the machines were breaking up the mortar and metal of our old home, one of the bold, brave arms of our beloved cherry tree was knocked pretty hard.
Making it bend. And snap.
Our builder was as devastated as we were. He too had worked with us for so long on creating our unbuilt dream home. One that honoured our sacred tree as the centre point of our building project. He filled her damaged trunk with moss and bolted in straps to hold her broken limbs together. We were told to leave her support dressings on for “as long as it takes,” to cross our fingers tight,
And to hope.
Our home grew up around our cherry tree’s woundeds. We watched her over the build as shed her golden reds to sleep in nakedness again. We moved back in under her strapped and bolted empty branches – wondering if she was ever going to wake up after such a heavy knock. Yet after a month of living with her as she slept,
She did.
Beneath her bolts, her straps and her plastered limbs, we sat in her shady love as she covered us with her cherries again. And over the course of a year in our new home, we have again watched the seasons represented through her life cycles. Yet as she awakened into her Spring bloom this year, I noticed her straps were getting pretty tight. And there were small bugs growing within her wrapped up moss. So even though I was told the dressings over her wounds would needed to hold her together – and even though I was told to leave them on for as long as it takes, it seemed to me that she was actually been choked by what was holding her together so tight. So rather than let her suffocate in our perceived space of safety, I cut through all the wraps and the straps and let them fall off. And in acting out from my sense of faith,
I allowed our wounded tree to stand in her solidarity again alone.
Think standing strength, back bends and udiyana bandha.
Part of the wounding process is giving time to heal. Whether this is as dramatic as external assistance in pulling us back together or as simple as giving ourselves permission to be quiet. The contraction inwards is part of our natural development. It gives time for the parts of us that are wounded by the trauma to re-connect – so we can pull ourself back together. But after a period of stillness and a moment in time, our journey needs to continue and we are asked to step up and move on.
But as we step up, sometimes a small part of that contracted space wants to remain within. That part of us that was deeply shocked by the wound and so feels safer to remain hidden inside. This is a natural part of our development and is in place primally to keep us safe. But sometimes that learned, small contracted space can limit our growth and suffocate our possibilities. By saying it’s all too hard or it’s all too risky. By saying if you drop your crutches and let go of your support structures, you won’t survive. By our mind overtaking our heart and saying that out there it’s too dangerous or we’re doing it all wrong.
Making us cope with our lives rather than live them.
We watched in wonder as our tree cycled through her trauma. And today, nearly two years on, she stands alone in her full flower again. Yesterday, I cut off her straps and removed the plaster from her wounds. I noticed where her growing branches has been stunted by her safety – pushing out as if to try and grow around and away from what was holding her. She again stands in her solidarity at the centre of our home. So we can watch her seasonal expression daily.
And wait for her summer cherries to come.




















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