I would very much like to be like my cottonwood tree. Right now the air is cold the elements are harsh. But it stands strong and resolute. It even has a few leaves still attached to its limbs. A reminder that it is still very much alive. During this time, it will withstand all types of demands. If I could only hear its thoughts, its whispers right now. I have no doubt they would be reassuring. Because it knows there are warm morning suns, the touch of a robin, a gentle graze of a butterfly, a flutter of life and rebirth on the horizon. My tree then provides me the chance to open up to, expand my chest, breathe a bit deeper, inhale the coolness of its roots, assist me in staying grounded. This morning sun then begins to increase in intensity, but my cottonwood tree provides me a shady patch of earth, a place of refuge from the heat. I lay back and allow its roots to support me, allow me to gaze up at its grandness. As the summer breeze blows the leaves sing to me. Every leaf not quite the same, each its own unique pattern but when combined it creates the most beautiful melody. Taking me out of myself, letting me know its secrets its simple way of just being. And then the morning sun begins to cool once more its buds burst open releasing an immense amount of dust. It covers the earth not only in its vicinity but all throughout. It feels as if it is shouting to all that will listen I am here, I am alive, and I am well. It’s a type of release, a letting go, showing it can even be strong in its vulnerability. My cottonwood tree knows fear, it knows joy. My cottonwood tree knows trust and knows patience. In the face of it all it stands. It stands knowing nothing is for certain. It will experience great loss but also great wealth. It will feel cold harsh winds but also feel the kiss of morning dew. It stands with its branches reaching up and out ready to really receive whatever may come. For things are ever changing, just accepting whatever it may be with grace and love. -Karly L.