Ecclesiastes is a beautiful book: the seasons turn, rivers flow into oceans, the earth remains. Leaving aside the impending ecological Armageddon, this is a reassuring message. There are seasons; things are meant to change. And there is a pattern and predictability to the flux.
That was fine, until the Japanese maple died. It was a beautiful tree, not especially majestic in its size or reach, but it had an old soul - or at least I liked to think so, given its finely gnarled bark, its delicate, razor sharp leaves assuming their deep red as the seasons turned.
I grieved for that tree, truly: denial first - I had to be told gently at first but then firmly that it was definitely gone; then I bargained; anger, sure; depression. I suppose I've moved into acceptance, though in many ways this shift had much less to do with sitting with the loss of the tree than with the amazing riot of color that stampeded into the garden once the wildflowers could emerge from the shade-that-was-no-more into the sunlight. These are black-eyed Susans, the state flower of Maryland, and what a different character these young hoodlums have, compared with Great Aunt Maple.
Youthful energy is a gift, as Rumi says:
In somber dignity, I used to sit
on my mat and pray.
Now children run through
and make faces at me.
The timing of the maple/wildflower lesson was apt, because it overlapped with the residents' graduation and the new arrivals of the interns and the transition of the PGY2's to JHH. I am always saddened by the leave-taking of the graduates: they have planted roots in the soil of the Department, and the Department is lessened by their absence. Quickly enough, though, the newbies arrive and need growing. So the Department takes them in, makes room in the soil, and down go the roots.
At the hospital, we welcome the new PGY2s with food:
... and the outgoing PGY2s hand over their hard-won wisdom, imparting reassurance and information, two of the most important nutrients for residents:
while we grandfathers look on....
...so, I guess I can deal with these changes, all told. If I have to. And if the new continue to supplant the old as we go.