Last weekend, I woke up early on Saturday morning to meet a friend for tennis. As I left my apartment, I didn’t give the beautiful tree outside my window a second glance, trusting that it was as fixed as the building itself…
When I returned in the early afternoon, the tree was gone.
This was a tree I loved. It feels a little weird to use that kind of language about a tree. Some mornings I would wake up and watch the leaves sway in the wind. I’d see figures and shapes in the patterns of light and shadow, much like a child looks for patterns in the clouds. I even had this fantasy that if there was ever a fire in the building, I could jump to the tree to escape (yes, it was that close to my window).
Now it was gone. And I could hardly even remember what it looked like.
I talked to several friends about it, and we all agreed that it was a wonderful lesson in appreciation. One friend even suggested that I learn as much as I could about the remaining tree across the street. So I found out that the local Shade Tree Commission’s next meeting was in a few weeks and I put it on my calendar. They would be able to tell me all about the trees on the street. I was not going to make the same mistake; I was not going to take the tree across the street for granted the way I had the one outside my window.
Well, it’s a week later. And as I sit here writing this, they are cutting down the tree across the street. And I realize I’ve learned nothing.
A whole week went by since the first tree was cut down. A whole week of me getting wrapped up in the mental trappings of each day. A whole week of me living in the past or future. A whole week of me not appreciating the tree across the street. And in an hour or so, it will be gone, too.
The true lesson of appreciation is that now is now. “Now I will appreciate the tree across the street” doesn’t mean “Tomorrow I will appreciate the tree across the street.” It means now.
So I pause now from writing to appreciate this tree…
…the slow motion sway of the leaves and branches…as if the whole tree is inhaling and exhaling its final breaths…(the bronchial tree of the human lung itself a metaphor)
…the trunk…strong and supple…like the spine of a giant…
…the fractal geometry of each leaf…millions of angles, curves, and points all overlapping in a beautiful harmony of chaos and order…
…the greens, browns, and yellows…dancing colors in the breeze…
How many years did it take that tree to grow? How many hours did it take to cut it down?
How many minutes did I appreciate it?
The tree is gone.
There are many reasons why we get distracted from things that are important to us, and like with me and the tree, sometimes we only realize it when it’s too late. Procrastination can be a terrible source of regret.
If you struggle with procrastination, there are solutions. The key is knowing the right solution to use and when to use it.
Did you know there are 3 different types of procrastination? And each has a different solution? And if you try to use the wrong solution with the wrong type, you could make the problem even worse?