this tree. gnarly and twisted and wrinkly. it looks a little halloween-esque at dusk and could be downright scary in the dark of night. it’s seen so much life, so many decades and its lifeblood travels throughout the healthy tree, bringing and sharing nutrients. home to insects and small creatures, it provides shade for the vegetation beneath it. it’s not just an old tree and it’s not the picture of what we think of when we think of a beautiful tree. but it is. beautiful. you just can’t judge a book by its cover. my sweet momma always said that.
momma would look in the mirror and talk about the wrinkles on her face and how “old” she looked. in her wheelchair she could appear to be meek, wrestling with difficulties and just an old woman. but that was so not so. she had seen much life. she was home to my dad, me and my sister and brother, our families, extended members as it fanned out the branches of our family tree, her friends. she provided warm words and kindnesses to all around her, strangers among them. she was beautiful. every last gorgeous wrinkle. you just can’t judge a book by its cover.
we had a black lab years ago, one of a few in our family history, when The Girl and The Boy were little. his name was hughie and he had at least 47 allergies. he was treated for many of these and we tried to address the auto-immune disease he had as well, but he lost most of the hair on his body. he looked gnarly and rough and wrinkled. as a lab with little hair, he looked scary to those who did not know him. he struggled and, even in his discomfort, was gentle and sweet, a learning for The Girl and The Boy, who were his and, despite his outward appearance, knew what was inside. he was not the picture of what we think of when we think of a beautiful dog. but he was. beautiful. you just can’t judge a book by its cover.
inside. beautiful. how hard is it to always remember that? you just can’t judge a book by its cover.