The Hope of Trees in Winter

In the mornings, now that the light of winter has returned, I stand in the kitchen with a cup of tea and watch the orchestra of sunrise come upon our earth.  A sharpness that pierces the dark morning, but in a subtle, gentle kiss, is winter’s daybreak, and during it, the solitude of tree branches with no leaves standing witness to the event fills me with serenity.

 

I long to be one of those tree branches, myself bared for all to see.

 

We have been told a new dawn is upon America, a dawn filled with hope and belief in the ideal of change.  I, too, am happy that the darkness we have been living in seems to be dissipating, but at the same time, I am hesitant to believe that America will really change unless we expose ourselves like those tree branches in the morning light out by the alley.

 

Will we as a nation move to bring about justice for the world by calling for the criminality perpetrated from within our government houses to be brought to trial?

 

Will we as brothers and sisters work to empower the powerless?

 

Will we as consumers and marketeers seek fairness and equality in economics?

 

Will we turn our heads as our natural world is pilloried for profit?

 

Optimism is not something that fills me when I see people I know and love, people who know what needs to be done, go about their daily life doing what is best for them, first.  Be it the cheaper product at Box Mart that saves them a few dimes, even though they’ll drive the extra few miles to get there.  Be it the want for that fourth shirt that looks so good on them, despite it being the same color as the other three, but maybe a different name brand.  Be it the choice of not shopping local food markets because the products are more expensive, even though they know their tax dollars heavily subsidize an agro-food industry that is wasteful and harmful to our health.

 

Emmylou Harris sings a song on her newest album about how when it comes down to it, “all that you have is your soul.”  I listened to that this afternoon while driving down I-65 from Chicago to Lafayette, the warm winter sun of a 40 degree day sliding down the horizon into the flat lands of northcentral Indiana.  A chocolate ice cream cone from Fair Oaks was in my hand.  Emmylou sang:

 

“Hunger only for a taste of justice

Hunger only for a world of truth”

 

A friend of mine from Peace Corps recently asked me if justice might be what the American Dream is about.  I’m not so sure about that one.  It seems that we have achieved some justice in the country, but we’ve also handed out a lot of injustice since our founding days.  Maybe the pursuit of justice is what it’s about, but we might have to ask who holds the scales of justice before we decide how we want to pursue it.

 

I don’t know.  Really, I don’t.  But I do know…

 

Tomorrow the sun will come up again.  I’m hopeful the day will bring a little truth and justice our way.  If that is the American Dream, please don’t pinch me.  Let me be hopeful that maybe I will also be like those tree branches some day.

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