I’m in love with Shagbark Hickory trees. I see myself in their rough, hanging, falling pieces. Not ready for discard, yet falling nonetheless. Some strips falling and decomposing quickly, surrendering their riches to fertilize the hungry earth. Some bark hanging on longer, still with something to say, remaining vertical and visible until their voices are no longer heard by the forest.
Large long pieces, small, thick pieces stacked neatly, supporting their fellow Shagmates. Strips of wrinkled, worn roughness. Mazes of texture giving way to a newer, smoother, Auburn skin. Underneath. Beautiful colors beneath the Shagbark’s discards. Shaggy rough, scattered, haggard, unfinished, jagged, worn and edgy yet standing tall. Proudly facing the sun. Standing, reaping precipitation benefits. Reaching above it all, into the clarity, in the space we all seek, the space between our breath. Fresh oxygen lives above.
Shagbark gripping the earth below, grounding wide and deep. Solid. Fingers and toes long n scraggly, twisting and turning in the silent light and dark. Seeking, still, layers of life and death intermingling. Nutrients for the taking, earth’s gifts used and returned. Shedding pieces of our story, revealing a less burdened smoother version of ourselves ready for the next season of life.
After all this time. After all these years. I still feel like a problem. I still fear the future. Fearing things that will probably never happen. I still fear being inadequate. I still fear losing everything. I still fear bodily injury. I still fear being physically unable to protect myself. I still fear not being worthy. I still fear that there’s more abuse to remember.
Not run n hide fear. Not shuddering, shaking, shivering fear. This is a different, insidious terror that habitually shortens my exhale. That lives in my chest wall, drawing my left shoulder up. That creeps inside of my lower facial muscles, adding tone and twitches and tight. The terror that steals the white of my eyes, their vibrant sparkle, absent once more. Replacing the white with a dryer, dusty pink.
Fear of not measuring up, of being found out for not being the best, not being in the know, of not being brilliant, not being happy, fear of having fear… Fear that others might see my imperfection, my angry, my jealousy, my procrastination, disgust, my light, my compassion, my heart, my gratitude, my self love. Fear that others might see my HUMAN.
Looking for some inspiration today I stumbled upon this Wintery scene. Quiet, frozen and crunchy. Alive underneath but who would know? Who could tell? My desire for inspiration, stirring. Alive, underneath these Winter layers. We sit. Simmering, planning, fantasizing about the greatest of possibilities. Maybe adding some sparkle and intrigue to our lives, our existence. What rubbish can we dispose of? Can we be doing more? What’s really important? What’s fluff in our lives? What do we keep? Feed? What do we watch die off? Freeze? These cold, crunchy layers of Winter-ness masking, the ME, the YOU, the US. But yet the seduction of mid-Winter hibernation, stagnation, complacency is victorious. For ME? I’m still spying for some inspiration, the ME I aspire to be. Underneath it all.
Do you cast a shadow on your own beauty? Dim your shimmer and light? How are you dumbing down your authenticity, your tender vulnerability and joy? Allow a sparkle to emerge today. Fluffy, light, pure. Timeless you. If just for today.