Opening the Door to the Possible

I often stop at this point on my hike in east Sooke park. On this little outlook, the sun is warm with rays sparkling on the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait. Close to shore a whale breaches, seals and sea lions bob out of the water and in the distance the fishing boats lazily float on blue glass.

And each time I rest here I study this tree. The shallow roots are somehow steadfast in the rocky outcrop from which branches jut out in no particular pattern. Shaped by the lashing winds of winter and the extreme heat in summer, these branches keep finding a way to flourish. And regardless of the storm or the fact that the shallow roots are easily exposed they adjust to the day and provide shade to the weary traveler and life to birds and insects.

This bent and awkward tree mirrors life. Regardless of our start there are ways to hang on to what is foundational. The life line to the tree itself are the shallow roots that are tucked in between and protected by the formidable rocks. With her living, the tree proves that growth can happen and be gorgeous even in the most challenging of places.

Not every tree is privileged to the prefect elements that allow it to flourish in grandeur – nor is every person. There are days when I feel too like these branches, always adjusting, old, odd, stripped bare of my youth. And then I look out to see what that tree experiences – such majesty and such simplicity. It dawns in me that I do not journey alone and that to live fully is to live with both risk and intention. I must embrace this day and joyfully and courageously continue.

Do not pass a crocked tree without a word of thanks or pass the person struggling, bent, broken or aged without a word of kindness. They have seen and lived something you may never know. Despite their outward appearance, they too are a beacon of hope and a place of shelter to someone, somewhere – just as the tree is for both the weary traveller and the smallest of wild things.

It is in our compassion and empathy for all and in our understanding of the journey that allows for us to see beauty, sometimes in the most remote of places and in the harshest of elements. And it is our love for each other and our faith in the future that protects us from being uprooted and opens the doors to the possible.

Brenda Schoepp
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