I was able to take an extra long walk in the woods this morning with the dog. The extra time always allows my mind to settle better and actually start thinking about meaningful things instead of racing through my thoughts. With all the leaves down the trees were so visible, I could see into the woods which I haven’t been able to do for months. It struck me how this was a lot like us; we get a clearer glimpse of both ourselves and each other when the things that hide us fall off. Sometimes these are momentary glimpses into another person, and other times it is a longer period of time that may leave us feeling naked and exposed. Both hard things and good things can bring about this “peek” past the things we like to put out there for people to see, and I suppose we shouldn’t fight it, but take it in. Nature teaches us so much, and pattern of seasons in growth and life are just one of them. So, the next time you feel “exposed” in some way, or know that someone else is feeling like that, let’s not be ashamed or turn our eyes, but appreciate the different perspective.
Another thing I noticed with so many leaves down was the truly crazy twists and turns in some of the tree trunks. We expect the average tree to grow up fairly straight, and yet some had immediate jogs in the complete opposite direction than it was first growing. It made me wonder what had happened to cause such a thing; and then I wondered what our journey would look like if our growth could be seen the same way. What would cause our special quirks, our twists and turns, our “abnormalities”. We all have them, its what makes us each unique. Just like the trees, we are all just trying to grow but conditions, storms and disease can cause unique outlines.
The last thing that caught my attention was how many situations there were where something new was growing from something that had died. Sometimes a large dead tree had a smaller tree growing out of it, other times a tree had fallen and found a new direction to grow; determined to stay alive. It reminded me of a very unique book I read once, called “The Golden Spruce”; the true story of a hundreds or thousands year old rare tree off the coast of British Columbia. It had been sacred to the Native Americans of that area for generations, and then the craziness of one man’s ambitions took it away. I don’t want to give away the story, but the author does an amazing job of describing the vast life in those rain forests and how dead logs, called “nurse logs” are the things that allow for life to continue. For all the thousands of seeds that fall from those ginormous, packed trees only a small percentage will survive. They have the best chance if they fall onto a decaying nurse log that has all the life a seed needs to grow. Just stop there for a second and think about all the ways that pattern echoes true in our world. As parents we give life to our children as ours slowly ebbs away. We learn from the mistakes and successes of others that have come before us. At the very least it should give us another way to look at death; as something that keeps on giving.
All three of these “thoughts” about the woods have been true as Chris and I try to get “Rivers and Roads” up and going. We have felt exposed; completely bared in our desire to try a life against the safe path of a traditional job. The fear of being exposed as dreamers and idiots waits in the back of our minds to pounce on us everyday. We keep choosing to stay exposed, and only time and the seasons will be able to tell us what our view will look like next. We can never take back being exposed, and that is hard, but we have deemed it worth the risk. No doubt this time in our lives will add a “jog” to the silhouette of our “trunks”. Regardless of what happens, the twist or turn will always be there. If our dream should happen to die, which would be more painful than I can express, I can only stick to my last observation and believe that the death of it would have given or will give life to something else in the future. Sorry kids to have to be on this tenuous journey with us 🙂
Thanks for all your help and support, and may the mark it leaves on your trunks be more than worth it.