This past spring, my backyard at home underwent a MAJOR renovation due to drainage issues. One of the many things that drew us to this neighborhood and home were the trees – lots of trees. Our backyard had seven trees right in the middle of where the renovation and excavation work needed to happen. There was no way around it, and we lost five trees total, but planted a fruit tree, and kept the largest tree of all making it the focal point of the back yard: a compromise. Before they brought in the heavy equipment and begin hauling off mounds and mounds of dirt from around the big tree, our hope was that the roots were growing straight down, and not sideways where they would be damaged and cut in the process. During those months, I spent a lot of time looking at trees – really looking at trees.
What do you notice when you look at a tree? Depending upon the season, we might notice new spring buds, or in the fall those leaves are turning brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. As I mentioned above, I also notice the deep roots, and the direction they are growing. These deep roots not only allow for big, billowy branches, but remind me of the importance of what’s underneath the surface.
Sometimes we want our growth to be linear. Predictable. We want to know for certain that our efforts + our energy are in precisely the right place and going the right direction. But like the photos of the trees that I have shared here, our growth is almost always a little crooked and unexpected-full of twists and turns, and hard seasons. But look at the beauty between the curvy branches and deep roots-and the shade that they provide to generations to come. There are many lessons we can learn from a tree:
- Remember your roots
- Go out on a limb
- Be content with your natural beauty
- Shelter others
- Stay grounded
- Don’t be afraid to grow a little sideways!
We are all like trees: our spines and trunks; our skin and bark; our hearts giving us strength and support. We are fueled by air and sun-and, like humans, trees are social. They “talk” to spread information; they share food and resources. They shelter and take care of one another. They are better and stronger together-just like our ALS Texas community.
This August, we have many ways for you to take care of yourselves and one another! Don’t forget to visit ALS Texas Connection Groups and Workshops to see ALL of our upcoming regional virtual(accessible through Zoom on your smart phone, tablet, or computer)Connection/Support Groups, CAring for Loved OneS Workshops, FAmiLy TalkS Workshops for youth and children of all ages, educational presentations from ALS experts, and more- and keep growing.
-Tonya Hitschmann, Director of Community Programs