Letting go

tree leaning with fruit

The tree leans, its branches heavy with fruit, bowing deeply, practically on her knees, the weight too much to bear at last. The fruit falls, lands hard on the ground beneath her, smashes easily from its over-ripeness, for it has been hanging on for far too long. Why? Waiting to be picked? To be consumed by another?

She wonders why a tree bears fruit rather than simply going to seed, like a flower. What purpose does that serve in its survival? Perhaps it must make itself attractive by tasting good, by offering nourishment to the ones who will carry it in their bellies to disburse the seed widely. Perhaps because a tree needs more territory to survive, her progeny must spread out so as not to compete for water, nutrients, sunshine.

Or maybe the survival of this tree species is but a side benefit to, a coincidence of, the interdependency of this ecosystem, which in turn is but a part of the intricate organism that is the earth. Perhaps it is the others who need her to bear fruit in order to survive, no intention on her part, her evolutionary adaptation (fruit) simply developed in concert with the system of which it is a part. No separation between consumer and consumed on a scale so large as this, just moving parts of one body..

She digresses with her wonderment, easing some of her distress with distraction.

This fruit is simply too heavy to bear any longer. It should’ve dropped long ago. As the fruit falls, the branches recoil from the release, springing buoyantly. Soon her leaves will also fall, their season of light-gathering, in order to feed the growth of that particular fruit, has come to an end. Time to let go even of this. Time to rest.

Like nightfall at the end of a long day, the baring of limbs brings relief. Soon will arrive the quiet days of winter with their deep silences……

But what will become of the fruit beneath that snow? She trusts that the snow will provide at least some insulation within its dark blanket from the bitter cold and drying winds of winter, later offer up its moisture to the soil when spring thaws. From afar, she will behold the unfurling seedling, pray it survives browsing deer and rodents, crushing footfalls.

How is it that life is so tenuous yet so resilient at once?

She has read that a mother tree continues to nourish saplings through the soil. Beyond the long season of light-gathering, which supports the growth of fruit, beyond the many seasons of light-filled leaves laid down to become a rich bed of nutrient laden soil, she will continue to gather light and transport it through her roots to be picked up and transported by a vast network of fungi within the soil itself where young trees can withdraw it.

How would this look for a human mother, she wonders? From where she stands, removed from the chaos that seems to constantly accompany her daughter’s struggle to survive, continue to gather light, simply that? Let it, beneath her awareness or her striving, spread to her child through some inexplicable bond of love. No longer bearing the weight of ripening fruit, entrust the entwined roots that have connected them beneath the surface of their days…seasons… years… to continue to offer up support, especially now when her daughter’s leaves are not upheld, nor numerous, enough to gather what she needs? Especially in these dark, cold, crushingly long nights in which she seems to be frozen?

Can she pray that ?

It brings her to her knees…. but yes, she can pray that.  It is really all that she can do. She has tried to be light for her child, to show light to her child, to hold her to the light, to drag her into it. She had hoped to overcome the darkness within her child, find a crack through which to shed some light, but suddenly she knows, she cannot be the light. Her child must find it for herself, within herself.

There is no amends to make, no atonement for mistakes. It is time to let go, forgive herself for her part in her daughter’s darkness. She has come to understand that there is a quality to her daughter’s darkness that is simply her own, nothing put there by another. Surrendering her need for her child to be different than she is, or even what she remembers her to be, she is slowly learning to simply love her as she is. Give up at last on the notion that she can make it better by kissing it.

It has not been easy to let go of her striving to make her daughter see her goodness, to make her love herself, make her see/ feel differently but at last she realized that she must do that for herself, find her own way to happiness, peace, safety, love, well-being, do her own work of growing and becoming, same as she. How futile was that striving, which in the end became merely confrontation. How must have that refusal to accept her reality simply felt like a refusal to accept her…refusal to accept her fear, her pain, her weariness, her weakness, her thirst, her blindness, her desperation, her brokenness, her self image, her self-contempt. Might her desire to alter her daughter’s distorted perceptions with love’s corrective lens merely felt as if she was being forced to deny her truth?

But what does love look like when it is merely acceptance without longing?

It looks like surrender. It looks like letting go.

To set her child free was to soften something in her that had felt hard. A hardness that had built up over years of frustration, pain, anger, sorrow, heartbreak.. Fatigue, she called it, though it felt harsher than that inside of her. Her desire had turned to judgment, her weariness to irritation, her pain to anger, her pleading to argument. She did not wish to live like that, hardened, combative, defensive, full of poison and toxins, exhausted.

Will her child survive? She cannot say. She truly does not know. She can only let go.

Tears. Again. Such a feeling of helplessness and sorrow accompany her, revealing her love and her desire for her child, and her fear that her daughter will not live to experience the day when her life feels differently, a desire she cannot completely release, though she now realizes she cannot materialize it for her.  Brought to her knees again, she prays for divine intervention… angels, gods, ancestors… to break through with divine light… in the end trusts the only thing she can, Life, and its ever evolving journey of becoming.

With unending love, inextricably connected even in the release – after all her very genes are swimming in her daughter’s cells , her hormones and electrical impulses informed her forming brain – she prays her love is swimming somewhere in those veins, beneath the ice of her self-cursing self-hatred, warming her through this long, long winter.

Last night she dreamt the tree. It was a piece of artwork, embossed metal. She drew it in her journal, the slender tree heavy with fruit, dropping to land on the bed of fallen leaves. It was clear that this was not an autumnal dream of letting go- leaves to humus – but of releasing the fruit itself to take seed, separate from the mother, to take root, nurture her own life. At last.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carolyn
    Nov 13, 2014 @ 13:08:39

    I feel your prayers for your daughter rising like incense from your womb love which nurtured her and connects her to the Great Mother who knows and sustains us all.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. emmaatlast
    Nov 13, 2014 @ 18:20:41

    Thank you, Carolyn



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