I love finding trees that grow around obstacles.

The ones that I find the most are hackberry trees.  They are considered “junk” trees – large weeds, a nuisance.  Normally they are scraggly bushes, but when you cut them, they sprout out even more branches, like a hydra.  Your choice then is to let it grow as is, or to dig it up.

Here is one I found at a Persian restaurant off White Bridge Road in Nashville.  The restaurant (Hot Kabobs) is not there anymore, but I bet this tree is.  Look how it has grown around the chain link fence.



Here is one at the Mercy Convent in Donelson.  There is a back part of the property, next to a farm.  This is not part of the normal area for retreats, but I was on a wander.  There was a metal wire that was used to show where the property line is, and this tree has grown around it.




Soon it will have totally wrapped around it.

The stumpy tree

This tree has been through a lot. It is part of a pair in front of a house.

tree bare

They are a short walk from my house.

Here are two pics taken early in June 2016. They are full and vibrant.



The electric company was going to come by soon and trim them – I’d seen the marks they put on the trees. Some get trimmed, some get cut down entirely. They trim every four years and do it based on the rate of growth for that species. If the limbs will be in the lines, they have to cut them away because they will tear down the power lines during a storm – or become energized. A worker told me that trees have a lot of water in them, and can transmit the electricity. Touch the tree, and you are touching a power line if the tree has its branches touching the lines.

Here are the “after” pictures, taken 6-20-16

Growing in (poem)

I’m no longer growing up
but in,
strengthening my foundation,
clearing out old misconceptions
and flat out lies
I learned
or was taught.

This isn’t housekeeping.
This is a major renovation,
a re-new-ing.
This is tearing out the floorboards and joists
and digging down to bedrock
to reseat the base.

There’s no plan for this,
no map.
There can’t be.
Each house,
each person
is site specific.
Nobody else’s plans will work.

How can you grow up
if you don’t have a strong base?
The tree falls over
if the roots aren’t deep.

So for right now,
I’m growing in.

Seeing people as trees.

I once read a story about a man who had decided to compare people to trees. When he walked into a forest, he saw different trees – some tall and strong, and some bent or stunted. The stunted ones had suffered – their light had been blocked by the bigger trees, or they had grown up in poor soil with not enough nutrients. He realized that the smaller trees were that way because of their environment.

When he went among a crowd of people, he started to see them the same way – some had better upbringings than others and were stronger. He decided to have compassion on the smaller trees and the weaker people in the same way.

Now, this doesn’t mean that it is his responsibility to “fix” the trees or the people. It isn’t his job to cut down a larger, nearby tree to get more light to the smaller tree. Likewise, if you encounter someone who is stunted emotionally – because their caregiver abused or neglected them for instance, have compassion for them.

This also doesn’t mean you have to try to fix them. That is the route of codependency, and steals a person’s power from them. Each person has the responsibility of their own live to take care of. We are each to help each other, certainly, but we are not to take away power from someone by doing everything for them. That will stunt their growth even more.