On Thursday, I went to my first Tai Chi class. It was at the local recreation center during mid-morning, and I got there a few minutes early. Sitting in the darkened classroom, I stared out across the empty floor, my eyes taking in my surroundings until I saw the large bay windows on the far wall. Looking out the windows, I could see the cold grey sky, a view of the winter morning, and I clearly saw the posts and green fencing of an enclosed tennis court. Besides the tennis court was a large tree, an oddity in my subdivision, my view only catching a few branches and part of the main trunk. Sitting there alone, I stared at the exposed tree, trying to see it for the first time.
The first thing I noticed were the buds forming on the branches. Sprouting out, but not yet ready to open, the buds were green and looked out of place on the tree branch in February. That was strange. I don’t think I had never noticed tree buds before in my entire life. I always passed by them without really seeing them, only noticing if they were with or without leaves, depending on the season. I had never noticed the first buds forming, so out of place in the winter cold, but it was only a few more weeks before spring came about in all its muted glory. Staring at the tree buds, I focused on them further, counting the number of buds on the branch I could see. One, two, three, four, I kept counting until I was up to ten total. Staring at the untapped potential of the tree, it was like I was seeing the present and future all rolled into one. What the tree was in the present, and the potential of what it would be in the spring. As I sat mindful of the branch, I enjoyed the silent moment I had there before the class began. Leaving the class later, I knew I would come back again and again to train. Each time I train, I will make sure to look at the tree branch.
Maybe I’ll even get to see it bloom.
This is the third article my Subdivision Journal series. I am trying to use mindfulness to observe nature in my neighborhood. Other articles in the series:
An Encounter With a Falcon
The Carrying of Sounds
Carl Wade Thompson is a poet, essayist, and the graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. He has published poetry and memoir essays in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, One in Four, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, Piker Press, The Eunoia Review, Blue Minaret, Nebo Literary Magazine, Alphelion Literary Webzine, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. He lives on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. His poems explore the link between the urban and the rural.
Photo by zanozaru