I’m nestled under white down beneath slanted ceiling. I got the message on my phone. We’re under a wind advisory. I hear branches batter the roof and wonder if I should turn on the weather radio.

My husband sleeps sound, snores soft. I’m in charge of safety.

I slip on slippers and robe and tiptoe downstairs. I’m shocked at how bright it is at midnight. It’s only about a half moon hanging out the kitchen window, and the stars are strewn like frozen jewels that shine in many facets. White clouds rush across the sky. The bell rope whips crazy, and the edge of the awning waves wild. The wind rushes and whooshes and things bang and rattle and riffle. It sounds like something’s tumbling across the porch. The newest cat, Bella, is balanced on the sill, tail twitching. She snaps her head toward every bumping sound.

I go from window to window and watch trees bend and sway, and I wonder if they’ll all still stand in the morning. I wonder if any will go through our roof.

There’s not much I can do, so I add some wood to the stove, and climb back in bed. I sleep fitfully.

Come morning, the yard’s littered with branches, small and large. We’ll gather it for kindling. I pop a coffee pod in the pot, cup the hot mug, and contemplate the trees. I wonder if they withstood the storm better because they stand naked, so that the wind could blow right through. I ponder what’s fallen, how it’s dry and unproductive, its usefulness spent. How the pruning took place in the night.

The trees themselves look dead, stripped bare, exposed and empty. They’ll spring back to life in season. Because the life still lines deep, still flows in the inner recesses. I imagine the sap flowing, feeding.

I really don’t know much about trees.

But it seems to me that even though they stand bare right now, they’re not barren.

Even though they’re stripped, they’re not sterile.

Even though it’s winter, they’re still growing.

And it’s in the pruning they’re prepared to produce perhaps more.




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Sandra Heska King
PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.
Sandra Heska King

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