12 years ago we bought land to build our house on. We took down the trees that were exactly where the driveway and house would be only. We replanted every tree we took down. We mostly replanted flowering trees.
One day, we stopped by to see how the progression of our house was going and we saw all of the trees across from us had been cut down. It was a forest, just like our acre. They cut down every tree but 3. I cried. It felt like they had murdered innocent lives. And that is just how I am.
I feel deeply. I am sensitive and I do not apologize for it. I am empathetic and I embrace it. It pains me when animals, humans, nature suffers. It always has. Since I was a little girl, I have always been this way.
On the back path between our neighborhood and the one behind us sat two maple trees. They were beautiful. I went under them countless times. They reached across the path and wrapped around each other.
One day the tree on the right was just gone. Why? It was healthy. It was near no one’s home. But it got chopped down and not even a stump remained to show it ever existed. But I remembered it. I still do. There was still a tree on the left though. It seemed unbalanced with just this one tree but after a number of years I got used to it. Some time ago, I obviously cannot recall when, someone tried to chop down THIS tree. I believe I wrote some poems about it but since my memory issues I have not been able to look back at the time this happened. But every day I drove my wheelchair past this tree and saw the lines from the chainsaw. It pained me. And yet I would look up to those green leaves and see that it was surviving. Someone tried to kill it, pondered killing it, attempted to kill it, and it survived. Those green leaves and long branches stood tall and vibrant. It gave me strength.
Today I went for a walk with my husband and I went around the corner and my heart dropped. Tears came to my eyes. All that was there was a stump.
Some of it’s leaves had blown down the path. Some were still a little green while others were already brown. My heart felt broken. I repeatedly said “NO!” My husband, being the optimist said, ” Maybe some green will grow back.” Ok my memory is not great so he said something close to that that was inspirational. But my heart was already crying. My inspirational tree had been killed.
I connected to the tree. It was as if it had withstood so much abuse and still tried until finally someone had to just take that final blow. I have felt this way. Like people have chopped away at me intentionally hurting me and I have kept standing, kept surviving, kept the brightness as alive as I can. But what do we do when someone finally just chops us down? Will the green grow back? Or will the stump be ground up.
Fortunately, we are not trees! We can fight back. We can say no. We can create boundaries of protection. We can survive even after horrific attacks on our body. We can withstand loss and crime and hate and bullying and rape and still not let life give the final blow. We can persevere.
The chopped down tree broke my heart because I am just sensitive that way. Always have been. Always will be. I am ok with who I am. I am proud of who I am. I cried over a tree. Imagine how my heart feels over human and animal suffering and death. Yeah. And yet, because of my ability to feel and my awareness of other’s suffering, I will fight for them. I will fight against those who try to “chop down” a life by whatever tactic of attack they choose to use. I will fight for the innocent and the victims and I will stand with them. In my fragile heart there is fierce firey protection for those who need safety. I am not ashamed that I cried over a tree. I am not ashamed of any part of who I am. I actually love who I am as a human being. I wonder, as I sit here, are others proud of their character, their hearts and souls? Do others accept who they are at the core of their being and cherish themselves. I hope so. I see the beauty around me and the beauty in others. I hope they can see it in themselves. I hope they don’t, I hope you don’t allow the choppers of the world to change who you are. They don’t deserve it. You matter. Please believe that you do.