Everything Happens in Threes: An Ode to an Olive Tree


I wouldn’t say I’m a superstitious person, necessarily, but sometimes things in my life – ultra-important, good or bad – seem to happen (to me) in threes. One of my favorite relatives from my childhood, my Aunt Grace, died recently (rest her soul) from a heart condition. A week later, my beloved dog, Bogie, my sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, also died from a heart condition.

Two. When the second coincidence strikes, two-in-a row like that – I earnestly wait, fearful that proverbial “other shoe” will eventually drop, and something tragic will happen once more. I knew that day soon would find me, and it did. The bad news finally arrived today in the form of the sound of a loud crack from the fall.

Forty-five MPH, howling winds appearing from out of nowhere, shook it’s thick branches, rattled its frail heart, sending it soaring to a perilous demise – killing my precious olive tree. The same tree that was freshly planted right before we bought the house. The same tree that grew- up alongside my children. The tree that over-shadowed the pool where the kids splashed around while I sat beneath it, stretched out on the chaise, reading a book with my dear Bogie splayed out by my feet.

The olive tree was tall and luscious – a handsome, winding, fruit-bearing, full-of-life kind of tree, but it was growing too fast and I knew it. It was too big for its living quarters set on its small, sloping bed of Lantana and variegated Bougainvillea. After all, it had already lost a major limb a couple of years ago. I knew then my tree was in trouble, that perfect tree near where we spent impossibly perfect summer’s days – but I didn’t work to save it. And, while I loved that olive tree, today I am almost thankful and glad we didn’t try and save it, because after all – it’s just a tree and not another person or pet we could have lost and loved more. During this time when life begins speaking to me in threes, I always stop and take the time to listen, and today it rings of three. Death. And I am, in this case, thankful this is, perchance, the number three.

So, dare I say goodbye to your rustling branches on sweet summer’s days. So long to your dark fruit squished beneath our flip flops. Farewell, oh sweet olive tree…may you truly be the third in this series of threes. But, not to worry as you lie there, lifeless and snapped in two; I suspect your roots are strong and you’ll wind your way back to me.

If a tree falls in the middle of your yard, would you hear it?

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