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Are You An Evergreen or a Deciduous Tree?

by Brenda Mahler about a month ago in happiness
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Identification provides knowledge to properly fertilize, water, and promote life

Photo by Jason Schuller on Unsplash

As I drove through the mountains on the way to our family cabin, the trees attracted my attention. Most stood embracing their color of forest green, announcing, "I am here to stay." We understand the pine trees, the spruce, cedars, and firs. They appear from the ground as shoots of green and just as their names imply are evergreen. We trust them.

However, trusting trees is difficult. They appear as sticks and remain unidentifiable to the untrained eye. They are less likely to be conveniently categorized.

When they do mature, they change with each season. Buds emerge in the spring then grow into edible fruit, nuts, pods, and flowers through the summer. In the fall, their colors change and foliage drops leaving the limbs seemingly barren, maintaining the appearance of death through the winter. An uneducated spectator is greeted with a shock when spring brings new growth as the cycle repeats.

These trees must be studied to be appreciated. Before they can be labeled, they must be inspected and observed. However, seldom are individuals provided the same consideration. In life, people are lumped into categories. Labeled by their appearance at one moment in time. Branded by what they produce in age instead of over a lifetime.

As with the trees, to distinguish a person's unique qualities, time is required.

Senses become overwhelmed by the beauty of trees: the size and shape of the leaves, the bark's color, and texture, the changes that occur with age. We watch trees mature and notice their shapes transform into nature. Giving time to accurately label a tree provides insight into the majestic beings. Yet, we do not provide the same courtesy to people.

Without proper identification, we lack the knowledge to properly fertilize, water, transplant and prune. Our responses are erroneous causing the plant to wilt, making it unable to reproduce, or killing it entirely. Do we take time to become acquainted with the person beside us in the office, at the restaurant, on the bus?

Even after assimilating all this knowledge, it is not until the rings at the heart of the tree are examined, that true understanding is gained. From them can be determined age, times of health and wealth, years of trauma, intrusions by predators, and moments of stress.

Becoming acquainted takes time and effort. Often requiring more than we are willing to provide. It would be great if others took the first step to know us, but sometimes the responsibility rests with us.

If we wish to become a compassionate society, we must reach out to others and share of ourselves. If we desire to have worth and meaning, we must connect with others by sharing our stories. Start by sharing our names so a personality is attached to our faces. If we shed our protective covering, our hard bark exterior, we become humans who relate to others and allow them to relate to us.

Stop allowing people to define you by what they see on the outside. Provide them a glimpse of who you are on the inside. Yes, this exposes our vulnerability but also renders us approachable.

When we die our bodies will hold exterior scars where we tripped, crashed or fell on the playground, simple accidents from living life to its fullest. But our hearts will also hold scars of lost loves bad decisions, unresolved sadness, and all the events that produced unwanted, often painful shocks.

I am more than what you see on the outside. You are more than I observe.

  • Don't wait to share yourself; during the eulogy at a funeral is too late to reveal your spirit. 
  • Don't make yourself known in death when your circles, annual growth rings, are explored and praised. 
  • Don't stand tall displaying strength like the mighty pine without shedding your leaves; give of yourself by sharing experiences, explaining how trials build strength, disclose knowledge gained through loss.

Evergreens stand strong. They are independent. They keep to themselves sharing beauty but remain invulnerable. Be a deciduous tree who provides shade, color, energy, an inviting home, a source of food and in-depth material to support the life's of others.

Make time to state your name, recognize faces, connect to life around you and relate to people.

Hello. My name is Brenda Mahler. I have lived a life with trials and reaped rewards -exposed but thriving. Sometimes I make people mad and rub them the wrong way; often I create laughter, but I am always true to myself. I love, I cry, I laugh, and I write.

happiness

About the author

Brenda Mahler

Stories about life that inspire emotions - mostly humor.

Lessons about writing based on my textbook, Strategies for Teaching Writing.

Poetry and essays about the of art of being human.

I write therefore, I am.

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