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Walking Thoughts

This morning it was about 57 degrees outside. I decided not to wear a sweatshirt because I always end up taking it off and tying it around my waist. My walk started out chilly, and stayed that way. Maybe it was because of the temperature that my thoughts jumped around in my head this morning…

I decided to listen to Dream Academy on my walk. The first song “Life in a Northern Town” has a line that got me thinking about the craziness of the moment.

I considered how many life changing events have happened over my lifetime. How many times people said we would be different when things went back to normal. That’s when I saw a bird hopping along a lawn with a beak full of grass and sticks. Obviously building a nest nearby. I was just passing a cul de-sac where a new home was being built. Three houses down from us, a new family was moving in. They arrived yesterday.

Home has always been a foundation of our lives. Sadly, this pandemic has elevated the sad reality that home is not a good place for all people. Domestic and child abuse cases have risen during this pandemic. Divorce rates are expected to rise after the lockdowns. Home should be the best place to be right now. As a father and husband, I was trying to make sure home was the best place to be for my family.

The wind was a constant on my walk. My bare arms took the blunt of the chill. The cold actually felt like sleeves on my arms. It felt good in a way. As I turned corners, or walked along the curve of a street, the wind would shift from my shoulders to my face. Walking through the wind gave me a defining edge. I felt my arms swing through, my forehead chilled and my eyes squinted. I felt like me, I felt a boundary to my existence which has been blurring like the way days are blending together. Walking through the cold heightened my sense of self this morning.

I followed a curve of a street that led me to a street filled with blossom petals.

I was struck by the beauty and sadness of the scene. The trees in the area were still mostly filled with the blossoms. And the blossoms would be replaced with leaves and the trees would have a different look, a different beauty. But the situation reminded me that everything changes. Endings happen. There are new beginnings. And pain is part of that process. Whether it is regret or the feeling of loss, our heart goes through that pain. If we truly live our lives with an open heart, we will feel both sides of the spectrum. Joy and sorrow. That’s good. Those emotions give us a defining edge too.

I turned the last corner. I had three blocks till I was home. As life does sometimes, the music in my earbuds played a most appropriate song…

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Trees…

Storm DamageIt was 2 o’clock Sunday morning and I was feeding my youngest a bottle. I could see lightening flash between the curtains. The wind picked up and I carried my daughter with her bottle to the front door so I could remove our flower decoration before it started to bang against the door. This summer has been active with major storms. As I sat feeding my daughter and listening to the storm, I started to think about the trees. We have a park about a mile away that had a number of trees that were damaged from the last couple of storms. Sunday’s storm didn’t sound too intense, but I wondered if there would be any more trees damaged.

And as thoughts at 2 in the morning can become deep, I started to think of us, people, as trees.

Let’s take a pause for a second to understand how I started to think about people as trees. At the moment I’m reading One Yard Short by Les Steckel. I’m at the point where the Patriots fired him in 1988 and he is talking about being broken from a few rough years of coaching.

I have had a tough transition to losing my head coaching position in May. But this post is not about how dreams change, that is for a later post.

This post is a reflection on why trees get damaged in storms.

Sunday's StormThe picture above is from Sunday. It is a tree in the park I mentioned above. The tree has withstood all the other severe storms through the summer. So why did the Sunday morning storm, which was calm compared to others we have experienced, take down the tree?

Why didn’t other trees have damage?

Why did the already damaged trees stand strong through Sunday’s storm?

I don’t have an answer.

Just as I don’t know which “storm” in life will bring a person down. We never know which storm we will be able to withstand, to be strong through, and which storm may break us. Even if it is a smaller storm.

In the park there are trees that seem to have not been affected by any of the storms. Why? All the trees experienced the same winds, the same rain, but each storm damaged different trees.

In our lives we are faced with all kinds of storms. And we prepare for them, we strengthen our character, consider the consequence of our actions, but we really don’t know which storm my totally uproot us.

What I do know is that storms will come, and that we may experience damage, but unlike trees we have family and friends to help pick up the leaves and branches. To help get our roots back into the ground and help us grow stronger before the next storm.

 

 

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