When I see an old stump, I am humbled by how it continues to nourish and provide, even as time and Mother Gaia slowly absorb it's spirit back into the Earth. Each part of this tree's life has contributed in some way to the betterment of the forest. A life lesson, even in this.
Walking along a forest path, I'm struck by how it parallels our journeys through life.
At times the path is soft and yielding, while other times we find ourselves struggling to navigate tricky parts scattered with rocks or other obstacles.
Sometimes it is battered by the elements so harshly that it's very structure is changed. But then the sun shines, giving life to beautiful flowers recently nourished by the storms. All is well again, better than before.
There are no straight paths to the top, so we most often will never see our destination when we first begin our journeys. Each path has it's own unique twists and turns, flats and hills.
But we persevere, and when it gets tough, we climb. If we stumble, we correct and continue.
And perhaps, as each journey is different, the views at the end of the trail are too? I wonder...
Whether we lead or follow, it requires perfect trust in those around us. Watching how it works in the wild is both an inspiration and a life lesson.
I love those moments, walking along a path and finding a break in the trees. Suddenly you are on the outside, looking through a window into a marvelous world. And then stepping through, to instantly become a part of it.
There is a sense of timelessness when we look at the rivers, trees and mountains, and yet they are in a constant state of change. The old tree was once vibrant and green, the mountains higher, the river was once not so wide. But yet the essence remains, blending into time, into our present.
Lately, I hear people talking about being "reborn", through a religious experience, or a moment of self-realization. Of becoming something new. But I can't help but feel we will always carry our past with us in some form. As with the natural world around us, the essence of what has been remains, though time has indeed transformed it. Everything evolves based on experiences, whether we have bent or broke, fought or retreated, embraced the sun or hid in the shadows. Our lives reflect choices, for worse or for better.
Like the old tree by the river, we become better able to nurture others, like the river, wider, our minds more open, and like the mountains, we have worn and softened.
So we must honor the hardships and experiences that came before. We would not have grown as uniquely without them.