Sometimes happiness comes under the most unexpected of circumstances.

Our Anniversary Gingko

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: challenges, marriage, tips for a peaceful divorce | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Many years ago, when my husband and I were in living in an apartment in New Haven, we had a maple tree in our backyard that was kind of sick.  It had black spots on the leaves and didn’t ever turn beautiful colors in the fall.  Then one spring it started to look better, and a friend of ours asked us if the tree represented something in our lives that had been infirm but now doing better.  My first thought (and I might have even said it) was why ask us about something negative and stir up trouble like that?  No tree was going to be a metaphor for some sort of pathology in my life.  But my husband, who is adept at getting in touch with his inner pathos, went into some deep analysis about how the tree did indeed represent some lingering malady of his that was now on the mend.  I remember my internal scoffing at the notion.

Well, several years later, I find myself returning to the tree metaphor.  On our last wedding anniversary before we broke up, my now ex and I decided to plant ourselves a tree.  My mother had planted trees when my sister and I were each born, and it seemed like a good idea, especially since our deck is overly sunny and needs some shade during the summer.  Being the fanciful sorts that we are, my ex and I chose a gingko tree because we find it aesthetically pleasing.  It has such beautiful fan-shaped leaves and turns a gorgeous golden color in the fall.  After planting it though, we read that it isn’t really a good shade tree.  Oh well.

The tree was pretty small because we didn’t have the money to invest in a more mature tree.  But it was more than a sapling, and we thought we’d be living in the house for a while and could wait to see it grow.  My ex had done some research that gingkos were prone to grow crookedly if they weren’t staked well in the early years so for the first year, we rigged something together, something, mind you, not very sturdy or sophisticated.  Alas we are academics, not terribly handy people.

I don’t think the marriage survived much more than a year past this planting by no fault of the tree, of course.  This spring, however, I looked out my window and noticed how good the tree looks.  Its trunk is growing really straight and tall.  It looks strong…and proud, actually.  Even though I had resisted the original mention of the tree metaphor (perhaps because I found it displeasing to think of my sick tree as a representation of something in my life), I couldn’t help but make the same analogy today.  Despite our break up, my relationship with my ex is thriving.  In fact, it is much better than it was when we were together.  Even though we no longer have the stabilizing force of marriage to hold us up (the staking of the tree, if you will), we communicate and see each other almost every day, not just because of the kids-although they certainly bring us together- but also because we are still friends.  We still love each other and want to be a part of each other’s lives.  Like the tree that has new branches and leaves, we have found new ways of communicating and resolving conflict.  Like the tree, we are reaching for new heights.  What we were unable to do when we were together, we are doing now,and that is getting along.  And for this, like our anniversary gingko, I am quite proud.

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10 Comments on “Our Anniversary Gingko”

  1. 1 Barb said at 8:10 pm on May 27th, 2010:

    Great first post! Keep ‘em coming girl.

  2. 2 Sarah Buttenwieser said at 9:41 pm on May 27th, 2010:

    Hooray! I hope I made the very first comment & I love the metaphor & love that you have begun blogging.

  3. 3 Laura Furey said at 11:27 pm on May 27th, 2010:

    It is so true that just because you love someone doesn’t mean you can live with them. Your metaphor applies to many of my past relationships. Thank you for sharing.

  4. 4 Homeshuling said at 3:12 am on May 28th, 2010:

    We had a few ginkos at my high school, and all I remember is that their berries smelled like vomit. Now *there’s* a metaphor.

  5. 5 deya lish said at 10:45 am on May 28th, 2010:

    well it is an honor to be the first comment on your new blog! (unless someone else is simultaneously beating me to it). i dated two megans, not simultaneously, and both are my best friends now. in the best relationships we plant so many roots, it is a shame that most of us hack them to pieces when the relationships end. when we nourish them instead, and return to the places where we once planted something lasting, then we see what fruit they bear. or in your case, memory-enhancing tinctures.

    at any rate, the tree metaphor seems to be one of the most endearing to us, perhaps because we evolved from monkeys living in trees. i also have been digging tree tattoos lately.

    yo go, molly. yeah you right!

  6. 6 Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said at 12:06 pm on May 28th, 2010:

    Derek- Thanks for continuing the tree metaphor and making me think about roots. I personally would feel very ungrounded if I cut off my relationship with my ex because he is such a large part of my history and my identity. And I certainly wouldn’t want to throw poison on the tree by getting caught up in anger and resentment.

    Amy, good news. I did enough research to know that only the female gingkos bear fruit and we have a male. It would alter the metaphor and the tenor of my blog if I had to post about the putrid- smelling fruit that the tree bears.

    Thanks for your support guys!

  7. 7 That’s What She Said // Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said at 9:10 am on June 1st, 2010:

    […] I wrote Our Anniversary Gingko, I actually mailed it to him right away before even posting it.  It’s a touching post that […]

  8. 8 A Love Affair // Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said at 10:35 am on June 8th, 2010:

    […] that our marriage is over, particularly people that I am dating.  When I sent my first post “Our Anniversary Gingko” to a recent ex-boyfriend, who himself is a friend (is this confusing?), he commented that I was […]

  9. 9 Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce » Blog Archive » You Are What You Think said at 10:05 am on May 9th, 2011:

    […] now looks out on lush, bright spring green foliage that has just appeared in the last week.  Our anniversary gingko, taller and straighter than ever, is also revealing small fan-like leaves.  In short, there could […]

  10. 10 Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce » Blog Archive » Indelible Impression said at 9:04 pm on May 23rd, 2011:

    […] Just like our anniversary gingko […]


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