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It’s the Little Things...Life in a Dead Tree

The day job lately has been equal parts fulfilling and soul-crushing. Each day presents a new moral dilemma and challenge to my sanity. But I persevere because I believe in my students. It’s the bureaucracy that is to blame.

When I need a moment, I look out my window. I am fortunate to have a window, and it’s up quite high so there’s not much of a view, but right outside my window is a tree. Now, this tree has been dead for the past three years that I’ve been in this classroom, but it is filled with living creatures. It is home to at least one pair of hummingbirds.

When I need a moment of clarity I can count on looking out my window and seeing a hummingbird and dammit, it makes me happy. It’s one small piece of joy I‘ve come to count on when the days are tough.

For the past two days, the buzz of chainsaws has filled our building. This weekend the Bay Area experienced a massive wind storm. If you follow me on Facebook you might recall I spent two hours trapped on the freeway about a mile from my house because power lines had fallen across the lanes. I believe the district maintenance crews have been tasked with cutting down trees on campus that pose a danger. My tree poses no danger. No students pass behind this building. It’s not big enough to cause structural damage. But I am terrified and on edge that the saws will destroy my bit of peace.

Do I write to my boss and beg for a pardon for this tree? It truly does not deserve a death sentence as it provides shelter to many creatures. Do I accept that its time has come and it's served its purpose? Perhaps I can buy a tree and plant it back there myself since the garden is kind of open for our use?

I'm not sure what it is about birds that makes me happy. I'm allergic to them. But for whatever reason, they bring me happiness. I have feeders in my backyard and love to watch them through my window while I'm working or writing. Hummingbirds in particular, and the colorful finches. My father, before he passed away, developed a love for photography and hawks in particular. One of the last pictures he took before he passed was of a giant falcon looking at him over its shoulder. Many days I see hawks and falcons on my drive and I think of my father and wonder if he sent them to check on me. I'm not sure where the hummingbird comes in then, other than he and my stepmom were the first people I knew who had feeders in their backyards and they used to have loads of birds that would dive-bomb you in the backyard at their Castro Valley house and then when my stepmom moved to the desert after my father passed, she has a crew there as well that will let you know if you're getting in their way with a flyby that will have you ducking for cover.

Maybe I just relate to the little guys. I would love to be free to buzz around and sip sweet nectar all day. That would be the life for sure.

I wanted to record my thoughts about this tree just in case they do remove it. Maybe they'll forget about it and it will be a non-issue until it finally falls over. Through writing this I will remember the joy I've received from my feathered friends; the moral support, the protection, and the glimpse of a life I can maybe look forward to after this one is finished.

Do you have a friend in nature that gives you some peace in this insane world? Do you believe in reincarnation? I'd love to hear about ways you cope when life is an ass-kicking contest and you're stuck in a Groundhog Day-type loop... Writing has always given me joy, ever since I started on my authory journey and the folks who've joined me along the way are some of the best people in my life. So let me know...How do you cope? How can our little Romancelandia community support you? And as always, if you're feeling like coping is more than you can manage, there are folks there to help. Reach out. I'll also share the National Suicide Hotline here as that's a great resource when you feel like you're out of options. 1-800-273-8255 or

And since this is the home for Rock 'n' Romance, here's a playlist to make you smile today!

Over It (for those days you're just ready to give the finger to life)

I need Something (for those days you're just not sure about)

Rock 'n' Roll Dreams (for those days you just need the joy of rock in your life)

Oh, so tomorrow is a big day and I'll have a newsletter-y thingie and I'll be on the Love Romance Reads blog so if you're not subscribed, check it out at

Stay Tuned for more Rock 'n' Romance...


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