Finding a Forest….

The last entry for 2014. Seems that it should be momentous.  It should be a post about reflection of the past year. My first post New Beginnings talked about reflection, regret and looking ahead. If I were to write about something that I did this past year that has impacted my life, then it would be that first attempt at starting a blog. A major stepping-stone in my path of my life, that has taken me in a direction that I never imagined.

Each of these posts has been a labor of love. A birth of a story that reveals pieces of me, pieces that I had to find. Each word building upon each other and revealing a treasure that I never knew existed. Each starting with the blank page, stark white and the most frightening thing I have faced. It all began with a word, the most difficult word to type, that first word. I have gone through agony at times to pull these words out. Is it worth it? Ask a mother who cradles a newborn baby if labor was worth it. Yes, oh yes it is so worth it.

There is this lone tree that clings to the bank of the lake near my house. It is a sycamore. It’s white trunk a stark contrast against the sky. On Christmas day the setting sun became its spotlight and it enticed me to grab my camera. I took a brisk hike over the barren landscape, dodging picker bushes and dried goldenrod, to a leafless tree bathed in golden sunlight. After the photo-shoot I gazed upon it’s home. The view was beautiful. It was a place that I sought for solitude. The peace that comes over me when I am on the bank of the lake is a peace I want to be in always. I envy this tree.

Summer Sycamore

Summer Sycamore

I’ve known this sycamore tree for over ten years; we have become close over the past six. It grows in harsh conditions and spends half of its year with its trunk under water, when the lake rises in the summer. It’s roots spreads over the rocky landscape, reaching for whatever it can for support. Compared to the other trees, this one is small and insignificant. The price it has had to pay to live with this view. I find it stoic, as it stands alone, twisted and stunted. A story starts to emerge.

The story is about struggle, beauty and strength. It is about finding something to hold on to. To dig deep and try to grow in extreme conditions. It is about finding strength that wasn’t known and a peace that starts from within. Solitude was necessary to heal from past wounds and to fight huge emotions. It is a time to come face to face with raw pain and to beg for mercy. A birth of a story. The never-ending story of life, death and rebirth, with endless seasons and storms and with beauty that takes one’s breath.

I look upon the tree in the fading light and I can feel it’s loneliness. Solitude made it beautiful, but it longs for something more. To be part of something bigger. It longs for a forest, but that would require uprooting and risk.  It stands there as a monument to all those who visit it as a reminder of what could happen when one stays in solitude for too long. I can hear it whisper, “Go! Be part of something more”.

To be part of something more you have to reveal yourself, to offer parts and pieces of yourself. To gain support and to offer support. It’s all part of the story, intertwining with the world around you. Rooting systems become locked together and give each strength to stand the test of time. To find nutrients within the soil nourished with the compost of other stories. A place where one could grow into a mighty sycamore.

I risk offering glimpses of my story and pieces of myself. I do this to become part of something bigger. To be a tree within a forest.

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