She came running out in her housecoat. We had hired an unknown company to climb an oak tree to clear out the dead and raise the canopy. She produced the business card of a certified arborist for the next time, and to ensure our careful stewardship of the woodland behind us.
Some of the forest’s grandfathers are surely 100 feet tall. In the winter, when everything is bare, there is the very early parade of raccoons walking limbs like a tightrope to return to their hollow place in a very old sycamore.
Thinking about how a tiny seed can grow to have the stature of a city highrise, something has shifted inside me.
You would have to be very near to me to know how much I’ve feared and carefully juried the word grandmother in my professional life and work. Decades of being agency have taught us that some decisionmakers conflate young faces with fresh ideas. Wrinkles are not de rigueur. Who can forget being told you didn’t win the relationship—something so well-matched it should have been like falling off a log, because leadership wanted a younger client service team. When J. mentioned to an architect client with a new grandchild that our first had just arrived, I paled. Only the fact that architecture is an old profession relaxed my guard.
In a few months I will be the grandmother of five. There is no greater role. I’ve clapped for clients all my life and, God willing, will continue to do so for another decade. Now I will clap hardest for the seeds of our future and hope. I am winter. In this season of their lives, I am the canopy above them. I am the hollowed-out place helping to protect and nurture them.
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isa. 55:12
We have collected the Royal Doulton Night Watchman pattern for my mother. In one obscure reference the watchman is referred to as someone who guards the entrance to a park.