“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Letting Go

Not one of my strong points.  Oh, I'm terrific  at throwing out things, but letting go is a whole different thing.  My new banner for this blog is an example.  It is the original Emma Tree - before there was even an Emma.  It was a mural at our old photo lab - it had real limbs attached to it that I decorated seasonally, and absolute joy in every brushstroke.  When we moved, it killed  me to leave it behind.  I had it all figured out - I planned a ritual where I would paint over it - I couldn't dare let our old landlords do that.  How could they possibly understand what it meant?  It was something I needed to do alone - I needed to say my goodbyes to the tree, to the space, to the time spent there.

But I got sick.  Very sick.  A month's worth of fever sick - the hospital 2ce  sick.  Then my across the street neighbor - Mary (Our Lady of Lindsey Lane, and in her 90s) fell and broke her hip about the time I began to feel better & the care of her cats fell to me.  I could barely get to work & back & take care of my  cat, Maggie, and then across the street to Mary's house every night.  But eventually I got better & eventually Mary got better.  The day she came home was final moving day for our business & I hadn't even taken remembrance photos of my tree, much less managed the time for my goodbye ritual.  In the absolute final hours, I snapped some photos.  That night, after we moved, moved, moved, moved, moved  stuff,  I broke down in tears.  I stayed after everyone else had gone, and just sat on the floor and said goodbye to all those years.  This was the tree that greeted me every morning during the years we worked 70 & 80 hour weeks for months on end.  This was the tree that was there when my father got sick, the tree that stood by when he died, the tree that was there when (one month later) the real Emma made her appearance.  When Michael & I ended our workdays with our ritual - me reading out loud to him - this was the tree that kept us company.

But then we were gone & I swore I would never  paint another mural.  And I've kept my promise to myself - this lab has a tree I've built onto the wall - it can be dismantled & I can take it with me if we move again.  It also has real limbs, and it gets decorated seasonally - strangers going by will stop in just to get a close-up look - and it's just as wonderful in its own way.  But when looking for photos to design a new banner, I came across my old, final-moment snapshots. There she was. The original Emma Tree. And I knew I could have her back. I could see her every day.


  1. oh i love this entry debi. it shines light on you in such a sweet way. your emmatree, your lady of lindsay lane... whom i now understand to be Mary, your neighbor in her 90's did you say 90's? wow! let's hope we all have an emma-tree-debi when we get in our 90's and have cats that need care. i wish i could see the non-muraled-real tree wall all decorated with lightening bug lamps for summer :) like little lights so the fairies can find their way out of the office at night :)

  2. Robin - I can't believe you tracked all the back to this old post. I feel quite flattered. When I first started my blog, the banner WAS of this original tree, but, of course, I've changed it, so I guess I'm geting better at letting go. The new EmmaTree is lit all the time - it's strung with bulbs & the cords are disguised by ribbons wrapped around each limb. I'll take a shot sometime & post it. At Christmas it's quite an extravanganza, and when we're slow, Easter can be quite a big deal also. Halloween is a fun tree! But I LOVE the ligtning bug lamp idea - I'll have to see what I can do!

    Thank you SO MUCH for your support & interest. It means a lot.

    Ansd PS - When the ever-wonderful Michael read this post, he came into my office & informed that he didn't think he'd be able to read my blog. That it made him cry. So I knew I'd done well - LOL!

    Have a terrific weekend!

    Love, Debi

  3. Debi,

    I have been wondering for a while now about Emma Tree. I could have asked you, but I wanted to discover it on my own. Your recent picture of it only made me more curious. I have to tell you, I love this idea so much. I think the need for ritual and the divided heart when faced with change are universal. This post is full of heart and beauty and passion. It is perfect.

  4. you told the story from your heart and for that i say many thanks...elk


come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .