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November 6, 2013

A Common Heart.

 

What I saw, when I found the slice propped against the front porch, was not just a pretty design, but a heart. Not a symmetrical Hallmark heart, either—a proper human heart.

Ten days ago, in what seemed like the middle of the night (but was actually about 5:00 AM), a giant tree fell on our house.

It sounded like I think an earthquake would sound. Or an apocalypse. It took down our fence, and filled our entire yard with…tree. It damaged the roof, and the porch, and the impact cracked the plaster in the living room of our 101 year old house.

Carpenter ants, apparently, had been secretly feasting on the inside of the tree for years. They were implicated by piles of red sawdust.

Miraculously, and I use that word with no hyperbole, no one was hurt. A foot or so to the left and the whole thing would have crashed into our son’s bedroom as he slept.

The first practical step, after being shocked, being grateful and calling our insurance agent was having “tree people”  out to remove the branches from the roof and the yard. As the fallen limbs were being cut into chunks with a chainsaw, I spotted a beautiful design. I asked the tree guy if he could cut me a slice, a cross-section, and he obliged.

What I saw, when I found the slice propped against the front porch, was not just a pretty design, but a heart. Not a symmetrical Hallmark heart, either—a proper human heart.

The heart of that massive fallen branch mirrored my own.

Maybe it’s all just scientific and coincidental, but I think not.

And I will never look at a tree again without knowing that we are connected to each other, and to everything that lives on this earth.

We share a common heart.

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

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Ann Nichols

Ann Nichols has been everything from a cellist to a lawyer, and is currently a Buddhist who gets paid to cook at a Protestant church. She lives in a 100-year old house in Michigan with her husband, her son and an improbable number of animals. You can hang out with her by joining the Facebook group “Metta-Morphosis.”