I have never been a nature lover. I prefer the safe, bug-free, and temperature control of the inside. All of that changed for me when I traveled to Ojai for a wellness retreat. I pushed myself to take an outdoor walk every day to open myself up to new experiences. It was during my first walk that I was moved to stop and take in a grove of trees, carefully planted, on the golf course surrounding the hotel.
It was here that a tree told me her story.
As you glance at the picture above, notice the tall tree in the center. She is the one that spoke to me. Here is her story, in her words.
Notice the trees next to me. See how full and thick their foliage. They are so powerfully built that they push into me from both sides. Their trunks are thick and nutrient rich; their leaves cover them from root to tip. When people pass by, they notice their fullness with wonder and awe. They are the stars of this grove.
Look at me. Skinny with a thinner trunk. My leaves are sparse in comparison to my sisters. I have not received the nourishment and love from the soil as they have. My path was not the same. My body is scarred from the fight to survive and thrive. I do not begrudge my sisters their strength nor their beauty. I celebrate them.
I could not control the amount of water or soil to nourish me. Yet, I found the power and will to thrive. I have found a way to grow tall and reach the sun.
I cried. I understood the visceral importance of her story. How many of us are like this tree? We didn’t have the resources, support, or nourishment to develop a strong and sturdy base. Yet, we have survived and yes, thrived in spite of it. We are reaching beyond limitations to fulfill our purpose.
I thanked this sycamore tree for her story.
She is me.