last night i was reading to my son, and in the story a woman and a girl were in a garden contemplating her ghost tree. the tree was strewn with hundreds of bottles, all gently hanging and quietly clinking together in a way that was melancholy and sacred yet beautiful.
the ghost tree and all those bottles represented the woman’s past regrets and mistakes… for each one over the years, a bottle was added. i got such a powerful image of this tree heavily laden and gleaming in the light, full of memories and heartache, but forgiveness too as it stood there bearing the burden for this woman. my son and i shared a thoughtful conversation about this, how we all have regret and mistakes in our past – tiny ones and big life changing ones. we all have ghost trees.
“mine has about a zillion” i told him sheepishly.
“no. your’s probably has about 50. mine has 50 too, and i’m only 7.” he said softly.
i understood so tenderly how already at a young age he felt the weight of things he might have done wrong.
“mine has too many to count.” i sighed, and i told him his will too and that is ok, because who we are is not just our ghost tree. we are like the whole beautiful garden, and the tree is just a part of it. we are all the love and goodness we make in our lives, and that is what really matters. i added that maybe those memories that haunt us can somehow help us to make better choices in the future. our trees just represent our beautiful imperfections.
at some point i realized it was one of those moments i know i will remember forever: the two if us snuggled under a pile of blankets in the dim evening light, and the image of the ghost tree wrapped around us as i tried to explain and help my little one understand the weight and complexities of this life.