My husband is a very private person who keeps a lot of things close to the vest. In deference to that, I don’t write much about him. But I will share that, after more than seven decades of being healthy as a horse, he’s been plagued the past few years by various medical issues. One of those being a really stubborn case of glaucoma. Many people can control the progression of this disease with prescription eye drops but, after those didn’t work for him, he had to undergo multiple eye surgeries. Due to that, I’ve been the designated driver whenever his eyesight has been out of commission. That would generally last for only a few weeks, but he hasn’t healed as expected from a surgery nearly 10 months ago, and he still hasn’t regained his full vision.
I don’t really mind doing all the driving, but most of my husband’s medical appointments are about 70 miles north of where we live and, no matter how much you love your driving companion, being on the road can get tedious after a while. He’s finally somewhat comfortable with my driving habits – in other words, he no longer fears for his life – so his side-seat-driver commentary has lessened significantly. Now, instead of me defending my questionable chauffeuring skills, we spend a fair amount of time carrying on normal conversations. But a body can only jibber-jabber for so long. Eventually, we just fall into a quiet space that sometimes borders on boredom. At least it does for me.
During our most recent trip north, it occurred to me that I’ve wasted a lot of driving time by merely steering the wheel, hitting the brakes and making sure I don’t ram into another vehicle…or a pedestrian. Those things are without a doubt absolutely critical, but there are interesting sites along our routes that I’ve been totally neglecting. For example, one of the highways we take has a long stretch that’s lined with trees. Lots and lots of trees. And in areas where they thin out close to the road, you can still see groves or tree-covered hills in the distance. It’s downright breathtaking. While I know virtually nothing about dendrology (don’t be impressed…I had to look that up), I’ve always loved trees. That’s one of the reasons I feel so blessed to live where we do…in a cabin in the woods.
At this time of year, the trees’ full foliage makes them undeniably beautiful, and traveling that highway the other day was a feast for the eyes. Before long, those same trees will sport gorgeous fall colors, bringing them to another level of magnificence. And what makes it even more enjoyable for me is the fact that I’m one of those fortunate souls who isn’t bummed out when the leaves start to fall. Some people experience a deep melancholy as the skies gray, the cold sets in and the trees shed their finery, but the beckoning of winter has never bothered me. In my opinion, bare trees are every bit as lovely as those that are fully dressed. Like I said…I simply love trees.
We expect a lot more medical trips in our future and, for as long as necessary, I’ll be the one behind the wheel. I’m happy to do it because it just so happens my husband is a pretty great guy. Whatever he needs that I can provide, I will do so to the best of my abilities. And when the jibber-jabber dies down during those long drives, I’ll take the opportunity to give the scenery the appreciation it deserves.
When the Creator presents His handiwork so selflessly, acknowledging it is the very least I can do.
Joyce Kilmer – 1886-1918
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.