breath of joy, Change of view, Faith, featured, Friendship, grief, inspirational, Kathy Joy

Irrepressible Leaning Tree

by Kathy Joy

Our Towers came down in September of 2001.

Something shifted on the global axis. and personally, in my world. Our national sense of security was forever shaken.

In October 2001, a severely damaged tree was discovered at Ground Zero, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

From the charred and broken tree, signs of life and hope emerged. Under the watchcare of the crew, the Callery Pear Tree began to thrive. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the irrepressible tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010.

New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible distinction between the tree’s past and present.
Today, the Survivor Tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival, and rebirth.

A few years ago, on the cusp of becoming an author, I visited the New York Memorial for 9/11 with my editor. We walked by the tree and celebrated its survival; two stunned strangers in a strange landscape igniting a friendship beside the signs of unnatural life.

When did your towers fall?

What signs of life are emerging from the debris? M
ake a list, and inventory of the new branches, new leaves?

So many upheavals lately.

And yet.

And still.

That hushed and tranquil tree stands in Manhattan.


In the spring, it’s the first to bud and
the last to lose its leaves in the fall.


Your root system is stronger than you think.

The network of support all around you is a social maze of amazingness.

A rich tapestry of connection.
A matrix of life.

We, like that tree, are a living narrative of joyous entanglement.

Lean into that.