Hot Beans in a Cold Tree

I’d made a commitment to spend 5 minutes. But the day was cold, the wind at 15 mph and the sky grey. While my desire to leave the stark comfort of my office was high, the option of dining somewhere other than the tree was tempting.

Picture this, a woman striding across the quad balancing a bowl of steaming beans on its cardboard packaging, a plastic spoon in her pocket, her eyes on the tree. She parts the bare branches. Sits sidesaddle on the lowest branch, presses her back to the truck, and removes the plastic. The steam rises. She lifts a spoonful to her nose. Cumin.

My tree is cold in the winter, the seat chilled, the view through the canopy transparent. I am in plain sight. I swing my legs along the branch and recline. My goal is to finish the beans before they grow cold. Of all the goals I might construct, eating beans in a tree is not something I might share during a visioning session. And yet, my passion to complete this goal rivals any goal I’ve had and builds upon the overall promise of spending five minutes in a tree every day.

A thousand or so small leaves cling still to the tree and rustle with the wind. A pair of crisp stalwarts holds fast whipping round like a monarch emerging from its chrysalis to dry its wings in the breeze.

Students and suitably attired adults tuck chins to chests and stride through the quad. Do they see me in the tree or hear the leaves whisper? Do they plunge ahead thinking of lunch or meetings or goals seemingly more important than mine? How do we weigh the value of our goals?

Is five minutes of intention a goal so remote that we don’t count it among those worth achieving? The beans grow cold as I finish my last bite.


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