On the walk to school, my rurally-raised neighbor (who knows everything about the land) comments upon the beauty of various trees’ habits. She informs me that a tree’s habit refers to its overall shape.
She identifies trees by their habits. Some trees squat and spread lower to the ground:
Others rise tall into the sky as perfect vase shapes:
Some grow into beautiful ovals:
And some unfold against the sky like Japanese fans.
But as I look around me, I notice something astounding. Some trees in the forest don’t squat or unfold. Some don’t rise up and spread their arms wide.
I learn that if other plants or objects crowd a tree, the intended habit changes. It diminishes. Stunted and pressed upon, the tree loses potential somehow.
I think about the simple and natural need for space. We have an intended shape–our best habit–but when crowded and pressured, we change.
I think about making room for my husband, children, friends, students–and myself–to unfold, to stretch wide. Do I stifle? Do I crowd? What would it look like to give everybody some breathing room?
Today, I’m making space for my best habit to take shape. I want to unfold like a bright yellow fan.
Journal: Do you feel like you’ve taken shape into your best habit? What allowed this?