Nosy Neighbours and the Tree of Life

It is one of those days when something changes in the seasons. The brilliant sunshine perhaps? The sudden rise in temperature?

I suppose I have felt it coming for some time, and have been beautifying my house, getting it ready for something I don’t understand in my head, but that I feel strongly inside me.

So this morning I was finishing work in the big bedroom, painting walls and ceiling. It is an old cottage with thick walls, and the windowsill is deep enough to sit in. While filling cracks and holes in this alcove something attracted my attention outside. A couple were on the rooftop next door, looking for somewhere to live – a couple of jackdaws that is. I could see from her movements as she looked down the nearest chimney pot, that the female was keen on this property. The male was sitting on another pot watching her though. He must have seen my slight movement and given her a signal, and they flew off. I seemed to know exactly what he communicated to her. “Let’s get out of here. This place has got nosy neighbours.”

I then went downstairs to find something to open the lid of a can of paint. When I took my toolbox out of the cupboard under the stairs and opened it, something extraordinary happened. There was the shiny little tool I had bought so many months beforehand for just such a need. As I picked it up I had an immense experience of my father, and his father, and all the people who have used tools to create their home — and beyond this the animals that strive so hard to build a nest, to make a den, in which to rear their children. And the wonder was that I knew I am not in any way separated. I am an extension of all they have done or longed to do. Because, there in the small space under my stairs, were all the tools they had left me through their endeavours. And more than that – I knew in those moments, moving me to tears, that my very urge to make my dwelling a place to be proud of is their spirit flowing through me. It is a beautiful clear river of life.

Some days ago I dreamt that I stood before an immense tree. It was old. It was gnarled with the storms and summers of its life. It was wonderful to see. And as I crouched over my toolbox half in the cupboard under the stairs, with tears streaming down my face, I knew that I am the tree of life. I could feel all that has lived before living in me.

It was a precious moment.

Copyright ©2004 Tony Crisp

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved