This tree is about a mile from my house. Every day I drive past it and say “one day I will take a picture of that base it is just fascinating to me” ..The other day on our way home I had Doug take this picture. I think it is appropriate he set the camera in the sepia tones.
I like this old tree, I am sure if it could talk it would have a lot of stories to tell. The roots tell us that. The way they twist and turn and wind back into the shoreline of the creek. In the background you see the other trees that didn’t have the tenacity this tree has shown. Be it flood swollen waters or limb bending winds this tree has held its grounds. Facing each new threat with a new twist and turn to stand its ground. As I grow older I have come to realize my fascination with this tree stems from my ability to understand what this tree stands for.
Have I lost you yet?? That tree represents my life in so many ways. I am sure when it was first planted it was not as near to the edge of the water, it had a firm foundation on which to grow and spread out its branches to the sun. Like a young child it was certain of the ground beneath its feet, positive it was sturdy and trustworthy. But then the first of what was to be many life changing events took place. Perhaps an overwhelming rain that swelled the banks of that very creek, pulling away the ground it stood on bit by bit. Not coming close enough to reveal its still growing roots, but enough to make the tree realize that life can paint a pretty picture but it doesn’t always paint the truth about itself at all.
As years go on the shore draws nearer and nearer. Other trees have fallen long before they grew as large as this tree, their bases not flexible enough to bend with the things life brought them. Sturdy oaks and maples laid waste by a storm of life. Much like people in my life. The ones I thought I could depend on, who seemed so strong, falling like the trees surrounding this one. The first of my roots springs free from the ground and I realize this can not be good. Without hesitation the tree, like me, bends itself, twisting its root to make it come back and reanchor itself in the ground that remains.
Life continues and each threat makes a new twist, a new tangle, a new way to skin a cat if you will. Each storm that comes its way thinks for sure this will be their year. This will be the one thing that devastates the tree and it finally releases its questionable hold on the earth. Toppling like the ones that once stood with it in this quiet place. Each time the tree, and I , withstood the onslaught of things that would destroy a lesser thing.
We have held on through what others have viewed as unsurvivable odds. The twisting and turning of our roots holding us firmly to our ground from which we sprang. Much like my trips to other states to get sure footing only to return to KY and know this is where I was planted and this is where I will grow the best.
Like the roots of that tree I have wandered and traveled. Sometimes in the wrong way, but always returning to my roots. Even now, when life has taunted me with another blow. The loss of the older tree that I looked up to, the one who had stood with me through every storm. Its life taken in the fell swoop of winter. When the cold and the chill shatter even the strongest of trees. The storms that roll through leaving scars and marks shook the older tree till it could stand no more. Falling and fading from the landscape of the tree’s life. Leaving it to stand on it’s own. Trusting that it has learned enough from the others to hold its own in the world.
I am that tree. Life has done its utmost to rattle my firm footing on the shores of life. Wind and snow, hail and rain have battered me. Abuse, abandonment, depression, sorrow, grief, laughter and tears and sometimes both. I still stand. My roots twisted and gnarled beyond comprehension. When everything around me says I should have fallen long ago. I . Am. Still. here.
Still standing despite everything that has sought my destruction. Still clinging to the life giving water of the creek and the protective security of where my roots were originally planted. Learning that we cannot predict the future, but knowing that despite that we can thrive, in the most unlikely of soil and safety. We can still stretch our branches out and tell our lessons and trials. Because we were able to bend. To become flexible to the storms and the attacks. To bend without breaking and grow.