So I slept.
And then, this morning, I went to the woods
Because I’m convinced all the answers live there.
And I came upon this old tree.
This magnificent one.
Look at her,
twisted and hollowed-out in places,
her bark pocked and rough.
Beaten and worn by life and her very existence.
How could something so ugly be so beautiful?
How could something so broken appear so strong?
How can two seeming opposites hold true at the same time?
Could I see myself in her?
Look at you,
riddled with scars
parts of you where the winds and the storms and the fires of life have left their mark
twisted and dark in places
wearing the evidence of life’s trials and your own imperfection.
But look closer, my darling
Because even in the midst of that, you kept growing
Kept lifting yourself higher
Sending your roots down deeper
Making yourself stronger
Sprouting new life when what once was got cut away.
Still you reach for the sun.
Let us see each other and ourselves as we see the old trees
Broken and strong
Imperfect and beautiful
Tested and resilient
You were built for this
You have what it takes to weather this life.
You are a magnificent old tree
Now stand in your place on this earth
Take up space
Don’t hide your scars.
—imperfect old you—
can be someone’s shelter
or their shade
or, like today,
Look to the trees and you will find your worth.