Yesterday I read where super successful people spend 12 minutes of every day thinking.
12 minutes spent not on their phones or making lists or watching television or meeting with other super successful people in private planes over the Atlantic ocean.
I thought I would try it so I went to the Gatehouse to think.
And I thought and thought and thought and thought and thought….
….and discovered two things.
1. Thinking for 12 minutes is a lot harder than it looks.
2. I think in stories.
Like this one that I’ve told a version of before.
About the history of a tree.
And the family that loved it.
I never really remembered life without the tree.
It was one of those things that was an ever-present reality in my life growing up along with Fantasy Island, Aqua Net hairspray and Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans.
My father had moved it as a sapling to a spot right beyond the drive-way.
And there it grew and grew. straight and tall as an arrow….
….until it kind of took over the driveway with its leafy branches.
As a teenager, I almost backed into it.
As a student, it welcomed me home from college every summer.
As an adult, I sat in the back yard with it on cool, crisp fall afternoons and watched as big wheels and tricycles and scooters raced by it at lightning speed.
And its leaves fell every fall.
And grew again every spring.
As season after season tiptoed across its branches.
My father loved that tree.
He was so proud of it.
He watered it through the hot, dry summers and trimmed its leaves and watched it grow.
I think it was his favorite place to work out all his problems.
At twilight he would water the yard and pick up the branches…..
….and talk to the tree.
They were long, lengthy conversations, told in confidence to an old friend.
I was never really sure what he whispered or what was on his heart.
But I know that the tree heard every single word.
And then one day….suddenly….early in the morning on a summer day….
….my father, the most wonderful, incredible tree whisperer, passed away.
I’m not sure that the tree ever fully recovered.
After my father died no one really paid much attention to it.
No one watered it or trimmed it or whispered to it any more.
Our hearts were too sad.
A year later a lightening bolt struck the tree and it came crashing down.
And I thought that was the end of a season.
The end of the chapter.
But you see…..I have this brother.
This amazing, wonderful, creative brother.
A tree-whisper in his own right.
He took that broken tree and painstakingly carved it into a thing of beauty.
This wooden bowl full of spring flowers sitting on my desk at the gatehouse was carved from the tree that my father had guarded so closely all those years.
I had almost forgotten the story.
Until those 12 minutes of thinking about life and my family and my father and my hopes and my dreams and in the middle of all that thinking, I remembered the bowl tucked away on a bookshelf.
And when I placed it on the desk and filled it with flowers, I smiled quietly to myself and my heart gave a little leap of joy…..
….because another tree whispering season had begun. 🙂
PS So many of you have asked about my brother and his adoption journey.
I just got to meet my newest niece and she’s beautiful and wonderful and special and her smile could light up a room.
He writes his heart on his blog, too. You can read all his stories here.