In a picturesque setting of café tables and a lovely blue sky with a soft canopy of trees, I sat with my hot tea and fresh scone safely tucked away in a corner for some real quiet time away. The hustle and bustle behind me of waiters shuffling orders, plates and customers sounded only like a gentle buzz of a soft fall breeze until, the table directly behind me filled with what sounded like at least 4 siblings. They quickly seated but, their conversation I found captivating; and hence, I became a silent observer unwilling to turn around and join, it was not my place, and so I listened in.
A soft-spoken woman said, “Bud, you were always Dad’s favorite, he took you on every special vacation, hunting trip and firm outing!”
My tea cup steaming hot, I stirred it gently and listened intently.
“No Willow! That’s not true, I was the oldest and the rest of you were either sick or too busy with sports or, needed to stay behind and help mom.” – I could feel the temperature rise as this strong masculine voice of Bud echoed through the café.
“That’s enough, we’re here to honor Mom and Dad today so let’s all play nice and place our orders.” A feminine and older voice who I presumed to be another sibling. I’ll call Cherrie.
I sipped my tea and took the corner of the freshly baked maple scone and savored them together in a moment of calm, I chewed and swallowed, my attention unwavering.
Hovering over an order of several lattes, coffees, quiches, muffins and scones they continued deep into their conversation.
I heard some rustling behind me but dared not turn around as I heard Cherrie discuss the purpose of their gathering was to honor their parents. I heard a loud thud of what sounded like a large briefcase landing on the table. Something was brewing! Cherie continued, “Stored herein are the family treasures locked away until today, as executor of Mom and Dad’s estate and in honor of their passing we must do this together”.
“I’m not ready to do this!” Willow sobbed, “They left us too early, this isn’t fair!”
The sun beamed in as I heard the voice of Bud comfort his sister and say, “It was their time and they weren’t afraid. They went together and peacefully in the night.”
My tea settled and cooled. I added a touch of honey and removed the loose leaf filter. I stirred it gently and took a bite out of the soft center of my scone.
Cherrie went on about her business and began to reference the trunk on the table as I heard what sounded like her fingers tapping it. “These are family matters which must be addressed in honor of our parents, so out of respect we must continue forward”.
A fourth male voice chimed in that he went out on a limb getting here with a lengthy commute and that the football game began at 4pm and he needed to get home to watch it.
This set off swirling windstorm of comments from anger, fear, jealousy and self-worth, it sounded like a table of toddlers fighting. My napkin blew off the table as a windstorm ensued, I almost turned around to pick it up and to help placate the situation but, fortunately they regrouped, and Cherrie opened the briefcase.
"As the executor, I hereby declare on behalf of the Estate, the following, to all my beloved children: Bud, Willow, Elmer and Maple":
It is our job to discern when to hold on to those which serve us well and,
when to let go of others when they no longer serve a purpose and hold us back.
Release all fear, resentment, guilt and criticism
Reclaim and take your power back.
Do not give your power away and rustle only within the winds of your own circumstances!
Dance in your freedom of choice!
Let go of old ways
Each moment is a new beginning
Truncated, beliefs are temporary as they sprout and flourish
Only to be released at the right time
As new ones emerge.
We are not our beliefs,
nor, are we are thoughts
just as the tree is not its leaves!
We must surrender and let go
with each season
only to awaken, return and emerge
to our Standing Trunk of Truth
with new Buds of hope
and lessons of the past
We are always with you
and have never left you.
I mustered the courage and put down my fear. I turned around and the café was empty!
I noticed that over the table directly behind me hung an old jagged brown branch with 4 leaves swooning over it with an oak tree trunk adjacent the circular white table. Each leaf suspended was uniquely colored and shaped, somehow different to the oak tree but, somehow, they hung together! I swallowed my fear and, the long red oak leaf spiraled and spun toward the ground while the other three seemed to wave goodbye!
I stumbled back to my chair and sat down. I reached for my mug and looked down and into it and saw the same 4 shapes resting there! Flavor filled! My heart blossomed, and my tears swelled, like a fresh cup of tea made from the wisdom of the leaves of yesterday. I drank in the miracle of the moment and, let it all seep in.
Photos by Abby Thouin.