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Rooted in Routine: My love affair with a shrub

In 2021, my husband, Judah, and I started taking a 30-minute walk each morning. Monday through Friday. The initial purpose was to get sunshine to trigger our circadian rhythm and hopefully help with fatigue throughout the day.

An unintended bonus has been a thirty-minute connection each morning.

Another bonus came from choosing a route that weaved through a nearby neighborhood with cute houses and more trees and greenery than we are used to seeing in NYC.

We walk the same path every morning. This allows us to focus on each other and our surroundings and to not have to decide, “should we turn here?” at every intersection.

One morning in September, we turned a familiar corner, and I was shocked to see a very tall man in a shrub that I had never seen before. We had walked past this shrub for months but never seen the man.

Once we saw him, we couldn’t unsee him.

Having discovered him brought me so much joy!

I looked forward to seeing him each morning as we rounded the corner.

One day, only a few weeks later, we rounded the corner, and I gasped. I was stopped dead in my tracks.

He was gone.

Someone had cut him down.

The season was changing from fall to winter, and the owner of the property where my shrub lived had trimmed everything back.

My shrub-affair was now just a simple stub.

Knowing that winter would give way to spring, I spent the entire winter with a secret locked inside. I knew that once the seasons changed, he’d be back, and I looked forward to seeing him again.

As the season shifted, he started to blossom. It was slow. Some small, green growth out of the stump.

But, he never came back.

The area around him started to thrive. New life springing from boring brown dirt. He had started to blossom, but everything, including him, was kept trimmed.

As summer is transitioning into fall which will transition into winter again, I have come to terms that we won’t be seeing him this year. I am still hopeful he may come back next year.

I’m so glad I discovered him. Glad I grabbed a photo with him while I could.

I still have the memory, the feeling, of that moment of discovery in my heart. The thrill of turning the corner and delighting in him again and again.

While it isn’t the same as seeing him each morning, I carry it with me with gratitude.

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