He stands out among the others, older yes, and yet somehow full of life without his shell. His exterior has no bark. Lines, so many lines, some deep and wide and others narrow yet most curve and connect, a whole colony of experience.
We don’t have to wait until we are old and worn to change. We don’t have to wait until all of the things in our life eat at us and make tunnels and holes and cracks. We don’t have to wait until what bugs us begins to connect and make a pattern. We don’t have to wait until it causes our bark to peel away and expose our inner hardened eaten self that allowed it to happen.
We can free what is just below the surface and be our true self.
They found each other in a patch of warm soft soil, meeting for the first time yet their roots entwined. Their look and feel are the same, a beautiful shade purple and green and maroon. Were they always like this? Have they known each other before, perhaps in another spring lifetime?
Neither one cares because this moment is all that matters.
Moist pine needles dissected, roots bulging with rocks of different sizes and shapes. Moss blanketing edges, some with fresh snow, others finding light to melt the snow and be refreshed. Trees as canopies holding back the mist as it burns off from the morning sun, just after a spring snowfall.
When we choose to make a change we need to focus on the tasks ahead, especially the ones that require faith. Those tasks that lead us step by step into our next adventure. The ones that are not clear. The ones that we may not understand how they connect together yet we know, deep down, that they are the right choices. The right thing to do.
Our path. Our choices. Our steps on the moist ground. Maybe choosing the easy footing but then a challenge, a rock and another combination that we don’t think a lot about because we are focused on the sight of the sun, the awareness, burning off the mist of blindness.
We need to have the kind of faith and resolve that a skydiver has knowing that all the preparation up to this point was for this moment, and in order to jump, they need to have faith that their parachute will work and they will land successfully.
Through the old leaves and sticks and pine bark. Through the forest floor and foundation that was once someone’s home. Here in the back woods the wild lillies dominate the landscape, enduring, populating. The lillies once just a small part of someone’s garden, maybe the feature or just a cheap way to cover the ugly spots and uneven landscape, but not wild. Now they multiply out in roots and send up shoots of hope and promise and renewal against a backdrop solid and unmoved through decades of witnessing life.
As we age we our thoughts and desires become more rigid. We solidify our persona almost as an act of declaration, determined to be right and make less mistakes.
We loose the joy and freedom of navigating the unknown and learning something unexpected, soft and dynamic.
Challenge yourself to send out roots and shoots. To go past your solid foundation, out into the unknown of the forest floor. Past the leaves from last year and the debris from the last storm.
Past what is known and into an expanse to the unknown.
After a heavy wind, the kind that takes you out in fragments, scattering chips, and limbs and needles. Making you wonder what just happened. It starts with just one bite but then grows to a colony of doubt and insecurity, fear and uncertainty. You become hollow, just a shell of mild expression, seeming strong and unfailing.
Sheer will gets you through the tough times even when you don’t realize how fragmented you really are. When a strong wind will bend and break what seems to be solid, and someone has to come along and pick you up from the side of the trail.
Spring brings light on moist air. Captured water like fangs from a monsters snarl. Once without support soft and formless, now crunchy mud, now frozen and safe.
Crunchy mud allows you to walk across an area that would otherwise cause you to sink. When you step you sink only slightly because the ice, the crunch supports you. It’s a dichotomy of soft and hard, of wallowing and traversing to overcome. The ice although hard and cold, supports and protects you from the hard sink, the wallow that would otherwise cause you to have to come home and scrape the muck off your boots.
In searching for your next step in life you sometimes have to go very deep, so deep that you sink and wallow and dive so far that you have a good chance of getting stuck. If you’re a person who tends to think more than feel you will struggle to find what you really love in life. How can you be happy if you don’t know what you love? How can you be radiant and fully express yourself if you don’t know love?
The trick is to the balance between feeling and thinking because the thinking is what grounds you. Cold hard facts that sometimes freeze you are the ice in the crunchy mud. Sometimes you can figure out the next step on your path and stay above the the dark mud because you can pull yourself out of it with the strength of your mind, the cold hard facts, the ice.
This is a time of new beginnings. A time to evaluate and create and to know that in spring all trails have sections of crunchy mud.
Moss growing as whiskers on aged bark. Green and gray and sometimes blue by the light of day. Joyful warmth the sun brings allowing them to curl and hang and sway in the spring breeze as the aged bark dries and renews from the winter’s shell.
When looking for love we try to find a kindred spirit. Not just someone who is attractive or stable but also someone we see ourselves in. You know, the most desirable parts. But also a person we know will be there when we need it most.
I never really thought much about my past relationships especially my childhood. It’s done and why the heck hold onto something I can’t change. I realize now that I have been holding onto a wound so deep and so buried (like 10 feet under ice and snow and not even remembering that it was once there deep) that it’s virtually not even a part of me, like maybe a whisker growing sort of under my chin and I have to have my reading glasses on, and tilt my head in a certain way as I lean into the light when looking at a magnified mirror. You get the point. That’s what I just saw. A whisker of abandonment from childhood that has caused me to think too much about what I should be instead of just being. Well, got my tweezers! That whisker is toast.
Shiela’s in the sun and gathering the light. The light of understanding that is nurturing the relationship. Harry is somewhat in the dark but hey, he’s a man. (sorry guys). Was is always like this? Wasn’t there a time when Harry was bright and strong or was it just what Shiela wanted to see in him? Was it because she was thinking too much, trying to quantify her heart because she had to make the best decision?
Light filtering, in a forest mostly dark and deep yet it finds a way, awakening the forest floor and a few ferns healthy and fortunate enough to root atop a rock, claiming their own kingdom.
Sometimes we have to own our own kingdom. We have to dive down deep into a rock or the most unkind place without soil, without warmth, and reach up through it all to overcome, so that the light can hit us.
Sometimes we have to have shallow roots and lightly dusted snow to refresh our memory of spring and the warmer days to follow. Our roots shallow so that we can survive knowing that it is all temporary any way.
But I want deep roots, entangled and nurtured by my fellow green nation friends. I want to be held and supported. I want to be strong for others. I want to be a part of a network, not just a tribe but a kingdom.
Find beauty in all seasons of life, even when you are worn and your branches no longer hold leaves, or even a tube of green deep inside that sleeps until spring. Even when mushrooms prepare you as food for the others in the forest. Even when you finally rest on the forest floor.
Willing yourself to be positive in a situation rarely works. Your expression will only be flat and superficial. The real work is in the beauty. Finding beauty in all of life’s challenges is an act of finding love. Your expression is full and meaningful.
Sometimes life is really challenging. We have to reach down deep, into our roots, and pull every last bit of positivity out of us. We have to will ourselves to love.