Even The Trees Do It.

Posted by admin on April 25, 2016 in Culture, Life Lessons |

I live a pretty fabulous life. We all do, really. We get to wake up every morning (God willing) and roam about this fabulous little blue ball in the cosmos. Best of all, unlike a lot of things on this planet, even other living things, we actually know we are alive.

All in all, it’s pretty cool. Yes, the world moves along at a pretty fast clip, at least to us. But trees? They have a complete different perspective. They don’t watch CNN or follow TMZ. They just go about their day, taking in our poison and churning out fresh air.

The events in their lives – the fires, the droughts, the lightning strikes – all move by at a snail’s pace. It’s recorded little by little in their rings, but unless you chop them down, you will never know what they’ve seen during their extremely long lives (talking firs here, not wimpy palms).

As such, I would suppose that a tree looks at its days much differently than we do. They see the passage of days as mere seconds. Events are just a blink. And one event isn’t more jarring than the last. Surviving a wildfire, a lightening strike or a drought is all the same to the tree. It’s just events that happen with the passage of time, some significant, others less so.

I tend to see life with this same perspective. Last week, Prince died. The whole world of social media could do nothing more than post endless tributes to his passing, as if he were the Messiah or something.

Now, I’m not here to judge how others grieve. I can just speak to my own journey. Sure, he was a great musician, maybe even a brilliant one. Only time can tell. I know he marked a time in all our lives and his passing means we lost something of our youth, of our innocence.

I’ve written about all this before, of course. Within our lifetime, all the greats will pass, and with any luck, we will all still be around to note their passing. If not, then we’ve already succumbed to the inevitable end we all face someday.

We aren’t as lucky as trees. We don’t get hundreds of years to gain perspective about the passage of time. We merely flit from one event to another in a panic, believing that our experience is somehow unique and that nothing like this has happened before in the annals of time.

I’m sure the passing of Jimmy Dorsey or Clark Gable was huge to my mom’s generation. Certainly, the passing of Elvis would have been very, very sad. But, as fate would have it, Jon beat Elvis to the Pearly Gates by five years, so for all I know, he still thinks Elvis is alive.

The irony of it all, or perhaps the poetic justice, is that these events are such first world events that they seem laughable to me at times. I admit, that while the passing of Prince was both untimely and tragic, other more important events in my life were affecting my perspective.

You see, The Seattle Times posted a story the day before about another tragedy, one of homeless children in the county I live in. These children don’t have time to think about Prince. They are too busy trying to figure out how to come of age while facing one of the most tragic situations in our nation – homelessness.

Imagine trying to go to school facing the requisite caste system, the bullying and the additional feelings of inadequacy because your family is living hand to mouth. Often, you take refuge in a car, or sleep on a family member’s couch (known as couch surfing, by the way). You can’t invite your friends over after school because you have no place they can go.

I have become somewhat consumed with the thought of what I can do to help. I have been homeless myself. I have faced the demon first hand. What’s more, I was on public assistance when I was in my middle and high school years, so I feel deeply about the issue.

And then Prince died. Sorry, but while sad, it wasn’t as sad as the thought of these kids having nowhere to call home. It just wasn’t worth my time to wallow in the pity, as I was considering the magnitude of this third world problem that should never be an issue in this land of plenty.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. When you’re unemployed, when someone in your family was just diagnosed with cancer, when you’re trying to sweep the muck out of your flooded Houston home or trying to find shelter after a tornado wiped out the farm, there’s not a lot of time to spend on pop culture passings.

Facebook, in many respects, only makes us more self-indulgent, almost to the point of narcissism. We seem so consumed by its many distractions that we are losing touch with the real world around us. People, Americans, are starving. Children are sleeping in cars. Crazies are running the country. The wealthy are raping all of us, and all we want to do is post the results of the quiz about which Game of Thrones we would be.

Don’t get me wrong. I love pop culture. I love everyday distractions. But there are times when real life gets in the way and, unfortunately, this was one of those weeks. I would apologize for it all but quick frankly, we should all think more about what’s going on in the world around us and spend a little less time contemplating what is really inevitable for all of us – our eventual untimely passing.

Until that day comes, we can focus on life rather than death, and through our donations of time, money, love or simply the gift of our company, we can perhaps affect the world around us, rather than living in its glorified, nostalgic past.

In the Emerald City, thinking about how lucky I am to be able to still be able to do something while I’m here,

– Robb

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