Carrying On, Oblivious

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We had a severe winter storm last December that damaged many trees here on Beaver Island.

As the Winter snows melt away, the Spring waters recede and the deep mud dries up, I’m able to walk the dogs through areas that have been impassible for months. We often come upon trees that have fallen, casualties of that long ago storm. The big dog usually goes over; the small dog goes under. Most times I go around.

Last week, preparing to go off trail once again to circumvent the large treetop that was still in my path, I noticed a change that brought tears to my eyes, and caused me to investigate further.

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This is where the tree begins, far into the woods. The weight of the snow on its branches caused it to bow, and it eventually snapped. It took another, smaller tree down with it.

It is laid out through the woods, forty feet or more of it, from heavy trunk to the tiniest, topmost branches, which are spread out across the woodland path.

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And, close-up, look like this:

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Yes, oblivious to the fact that the trunk has been severed from the earth, that death is imminent and unavoidable, this tree is about to unfurl its leaves in a show of Springtime glory!

One of my entries here on WordPress was selected for “Freshly Pressed” a couple weeks ago. I think it’s a pretty big honor. I know it’s very flattering.

That distinction brought several new readers and “like”-ers and “follow”-ers (Welcome!) to my blog. It also made me afraid that I would never again have anything to say that would come close to that quality of writing. Which would mean that from here on out, everything I write will be a disappointment (Sorry!).

It really can be quite paralyzing.

Many years ago I worked with a young man named Jeff, the summer after his high school graduation. He had been a popular boy, a football player, the class president, well liked by both students and faculty. He’d had a wonderful high school experience, and he was smart enough to appreciate it. He was also intelligent enough to be thoughtful, and he was afraid. “What if those were the best years of my life?” he wondered, “How can anything else measure up?”

These are similar to my fears about this blog, since being “Freshly Pressed.”

I had opportunity to talk to Jeff ten years later. He’d learned that fresh challenges present themselves, new experiences bring joy, and those high school memories fade into the past, so that they are no longer the yardstick by which all other experiences are measured.

“And how did you come to learn that?” I asked him.

“Well, I guess I just blindly kept going, and things worked out,” he said.

So, with that magnificent, doomed tree and that thoughtful young man as examples, that’s what I’m doing.

Maybe one with a better perspective than I have can see that it’s hopeless. Maybe my best is behind me.

Oblivious to all that, I carry on.

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31 responses »

  1. this is beautiful, and i am sorry that i missed the fresh pressed news; congratulations!

    never doubt yourself or your ability to build on what you’ve done and continue to get better and better with age! just tap into your own essence and keep blooming!

  2. Cindy, congratulations! This post is a wonderful reminder that there is always hope. And always something to write about. You are like a singer who is never withoug a song in her heart. I’ve no doubt that there will always be a tune inside of you waiting to be blogged!

    • Ah, my Mom used to say it was because I was so quiet the first dozen years of my life, that now I find it difficult to be silent. I think you’re right…I’ll always have something to say. Thanks for reading, Kate, and for your comments!

  3. This is beautiful to read. You have created an image of the place you live with few words but such beautiful description. It is always interesting to read about places in the northern hemisphere, places that experience extreme cold, especially as I come from opposite end of the world where our extreme occurs in the summer time. I loved the link between the tree, the young man and your blogging, particularly as I am in the middle of writing something new to put on my blog in the next few days.

    • Oh, I’ll look forward to seeing what you’re writing! Thank you for these lovely comments. Are you in South America? I’ve always lived where there are four distinct seasons, so it just seems normal to me. Thank you for reading, birgitbee!

    • Oh, thanks, Yvonne…you always brighten my day. “Another Spring” was the one chosen, which feels kind of like a cheat because it was the re-working of an essay I wrote for a writing class a few years ago, rather than an up-to-the-minute blog. My everyday posts are not usually so “flowery”. Thanks for reading,and for your comments!

      • I dont think you need to worry about re working a story for blogging.There is always something new about it in the present.

      • Thanks…normally I agree, and one of the things I always intended to do with this blog is put some of the writing I’ve done on here. I only felt a bit off when this piece was the one chosen for Freshly Pressed. But, hey, I’ll take it! Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Firstly I say I have not been in that situation so from here on in it’s all guesswork but I have wondered it myself from time to time about FP’ed bloggers. Double edged sword? And I have noticed that some, who I have followed disappear quite quickly afterwards or go off to make their own blogging space. Was to be FP’ed their ultimate goal and with success came conclusion?
    I have followed you because of your Freshly Pressing (and would probably never have happened upon you without) so it’s a good thing I think.
    You write beautifully and have good things to say which I know will not run out. What I like about blogging is that every post does not have to be a masterpiece and that, too, is a good (and liberating) thing.

    • Ah, MrsCarmichael, you might have a point! As being Freshly Pressed was never my goal (though it is a lovely distinction and has opened my writing up to a larger audience), I’m sure I will keep writing. Still, as with art making, once someone “loves” it, it’s hard to let go of that response. If you keep the viewer/reader too much in your sights, the work becomes less creative, and more just churning out what has gotten good response. Thank you for reading, and for your kind comments!

  5. Cindy,
    As always, it kept me riveted. Your last few lines bring to memory the only autobiography I’ve read.
    “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot” by the late John Callahan. Somewhere in his book he says something to the effect of “when we leave our artistic talent behind then come back to it at a later time, our skills seem to be freshly honed.” That’s my wording of it, as it was read years ago.
    I’ve no worry of you running out of words. If you share but an iota of what you have inside you’ll never have a lack of new things to say.
    Happy Spring

  6. Well done, Cindy. I love the connections in this piece. And speaking of oblivious, I had no idea you were freshly pressed. Your humble nature didn’t spash it all over your blog, but you should be very proud. Your writing is definitely worthy. This particular post, Carrying On, Oblivious, is a favorite for me. We have accomplishments and defeats, and then we carry on. What else is there? No need to dwell too long on either, as it all passes, making way for new experiences. Superb!

  7. Great message – love how you bring in the tree and the young man to relate to your current experience. Your writing is wonderful and you deserved to be “freshly pressed”. 🙂

  8. Oh, Cindy, I’m so sorry to have missed your FP-ed post. I’ve been so out of the loop.

    I’ve been honored three times with FP, and I found it paralyzing, as well–like, how do I top this?! But you weii!

    Remember there’s a big distinction between you and the fallen tree. You have not fallen or stumbled onto FP-ed status. You deserve it! Keep on writing, my friend. I think you rock! And congratulations!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • Thank you, Kathryn, for the vote of confidence and these kind words of wisdom.
      Are you starting to feel at home there? Everything that has kept you “out of the loop” has made my heart soar, thinking of the two of you on this grand and daring life-changing adventure!

    • I agree, Bridget! And, to me, the continual enthusiasm and participation in life though death might be right around the corner, unbeknownst to us. Thank you for reading, and for your comments!

  9. First of all, congratulations on being FP’d 🙂 Don’t worry about being or not being able to “measure up”, there is no measuring in art. Art IS, period. Everything you create is unique and will always be little bits of you that you chose to share with the world, therefore there are no pieces better or worse. 🙂 Keep doing what you do, it is truly beautiful ! Regarding these fallen trees, reminds me of this post I wrote for a DP challenge. Our beautiful cherry tree was also ravaged by our harsh winter http://peacewisdomprosperity.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/weekly-photo-challenge-change/ , and to my surprise…. http://peacewisdomprosperity.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/complulsory-purge/lifestillresonates/ Even through death, life still resonates 🙂 Nature is fascinating, isn’t it?

    • Thanks for these wise words, and for the links. Life IS fleeting. I think one lesson here is to live it as well as we can for as long as we can. I spent quite a bit of time with a cup of herb tea, looking over your blog at 3AM. Lovely writing, and a very thoughtful, stimulating mind. Thanks!

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