Soul Places

Befriending the Soul through Inquiry and Creativity

Tag: contemplation

A Life Unexpected – For a Tree

My father pilots his tree-beaten log hauler through the forest

The season is not fall or autumn, it’s firewood-gettin’ season

I sit next to him – two bottles of water, two apples and my mixed feelings between us

The Ford blue truck halts in front of a colossal, upright, bloodless tree

I watch my mixed feelings drift out the cracked-open window

Like warm breath caressing cold air

We are only after the dead ones – relief like rain after a devastating drought

Roaring chainsaw, crashing lumber, I smile

Surprise at my upturned lips flows into recognition

I am this tree

Standing tall among it’s kind

It doesn’t realize its sap has dried up

The roots have loosened their grip on the earth

It bears seeds no more

No fuzzy buds of new growth

There are no brilliant leaves to shed this year

Its skin is mostly gone, exposing it to disease and infestation

The chain bisects this mighty tree and reveals rot, powdered wood, loosened soul

A dazed, evicted mouse bounces away

It’s comfortable life – interrupted – not allowed to fall in it’s own time

And remain on the forest floor to fertilize the ground as it decays

It’s saplings look on as we claim it for fuel

What once was dead

Brings heat, comfort

Peace of mind in the approaching winter

A second chance to complete its purpose

The cycle of life, soul restored

In the most unlikely of circumstances – for a tree

*Inspired by the lyrical voice of E. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News – my current read – and forest excursions with my father

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What is Your Inner Child Asking of You?

Nestled between the pages of my current read are two wallet-sized portraits, back to back, laminated for longevity and used for contemplation. The twelve month old looks as though she had been crying, red-rimmed watery eyes, not completely enjoying the experience of being posed and needing to be still.  Nevertheless she is smiling and holds a deep blue ball that stands out from her pale yellow dress and fiery hair.  The older girl looks like a veteran poser and her brilliant red hair has faded a little to a wonderful strawberry blonde.  She is smiling on cue, bright eyed and confident in her Raggedy Anne red dress.  I am the girl captured in each photo.

When I open my book and acknowledge these pictures, I begin to hear the questions they are asking me.  “Do you remember what you were like at this age, before your world shaped and reshaped you to fit into a mold?  What activities gave you so much joy?  What came easily to you?”  Somewhere in those photos is a clue as to my true nature, my gift to share with the world that I was born with and somehow lost track of.  I must simply remove all the barriers that have shown up to challenge my way.  Only it’s not been so simple.

I let these pictures take me back in time in order to recapture my true essence.  I find that most toddler activities will not serve me well in day-to-day life, so I let my mind wander into more revealing activities.  Like when I was in the fifth and sixth grade I had a friend that shared my love of writing.  I would go to her house to play, notebook and pen in hand, and we’d sit on her couch and write the next bestseller.  When this friend moved away after the sixth grade, it seemed as though I lost interest in writing.  Where did the desire to write go?  Was it a “phase?”

With this inquiry into my childhood aspirations, I remembered that I found much peace with my animals and just being out in nature.  I was an excellent observer of my surroundings.  I have also been able to recall that some of my favorite times were spent with myself in my room reading The Saddle Club and Black Stallion series and making wonderful pencil drawings.  For the first time in twelve years, I picked up a pencil and sketched again.  I’m pretty sure I won’t make a living selling sketches, but that is hardly the point.  What I’m in search of is the mission that child came here to fulfill.