Under normal circumstances, we pay little heed to the tall jack pines that exist in the median between the sidewalk and the street. We see them as we drive by and rush through our usually busy lives. They stand silently, watching.
We do notice them in times of trouble.
The power lines that feed our community run by the trees. During a 2013 ice storm that hit the Greater Toronto area, larger branches broke and fell on the lines. We were without power for days. It is estimated that the city lost 25% of tree foliage that year. I thought the trees would disappear due to the damage. Though bent, they managed to grow new tops and limbs.
Two summers ago, a violent windstorm felled the jack pine closest to the intersection. Alone at the end, it was most vulnerable to the winds. It had taken me a longer time than usual to get home that night as the storm had shut down a subway line. The jack pine had broken at the base moments before my arrival, landing dangerously close the sidewalk.
Last week, after a particularly challenging week working from home, my dog bothered me into action for an evening walk. When I looked, up I noticed something magical was happening. The jack pines shadows contrasted an afterglow, a band of pink sunlight illuminating the clouds in the twilight sky.
The jack pines still loom large as they embrace the overhead wires. They no longer frighten me though. Nature has shown that deep beauty remains at the core. Sometimes it can only be known through contrast. Views can change.