One morning this week, as I was enjoying my morning coffee outside, I realized I was contemplating a large tree that holds court in the back corner of our yard. As I thought about it, I realized that it wasn’t even here when we moved in 13 years ago!
Instead, in its place, there was a beautiful, gigantic ocotillo! It was the biggest ocotillo I have ever seen, about 20ft tall and thick! It would have taken 10 people with arms spread wide to surround this beautiful desert plant! And when it was in bloom, with its intense orange tops it looked like the whole thing was on fire!
It was gorgeous!
After we had lived here for about a year, I noticed a small branch with a few leaves on it, sticking out of the ocotillo at eye level. Because of the thickness of the ocotillo, I couldn’t see where it was coming from… So I asked our landscape guy about it. He said a small tree had taken root in the center of the gigantic plant.
I asked him if he could take it out? He indicated that they would have to destroy such a big piece of the ocotillo to get it out, that the ocotillo would never look the same. Apparently, if you cut away part of one of these plants, it doesn’t grow back the same as it was before.
I decided to let nature take its course. The desert can be harsh on plants. I assumed that the tree, which is deciduous, would probably never survive. I imagined that the ocotillo was so established and a native desert plant that eventually it would smother out this small volunteer.
To my surprise, within a couple of years, the tree had grown so much that it uprooted and pushed its original host right out of the way. There are no remaining remnants of the ocotillo! Only my memories and a few old photographs!
In its place is a majestic tree! One that stands as a sentinel and witness for everything that happens in this space. It completely transformed the feeling of this place by claiming it’s own unique spot. Growing with tenacity and insistence in its own subtle and gentle way.
As I sat there reflecting on the journey and gift of this tree. I heard it whisper “We serve others by being ourselves”. And in that moment I knew the truth of this simple sentence. Serving others is an outcome.., and not the goal. The goal is to become the most authentic and unique expression of ourselves. To reveal the SELF we came here to BE.
In this simple quiet moment, sitting in and with the beauty of Nature I was reminded that we all have our own unique role to play, in creating the world we want to be a part of! In a world that is currently locked in a battle for separation, we become more unified when we set down the illusion of sameness! There is no other tree on the planet that is the ‘same’ as the one on Cannon Drive… And there is not a single tree out there that is trying to be! Nature is content to be divinely different! Perhaps it is time for each of us to embrace our differences too!
With Light, Love, and Laughter
Brilliant analogy. Very well expressed and pertinent to the LGTB ordinance issue in Scottsdale. I forwarded to my friend on the Human Relations Commission. She may just quote you at their next meeting.
Thanks Sandy for sharing your insights on this and for forwarding it on! I always appreciate your support!
What a beautiful essay, Charles! This one was particularly striking in light of the fact that often we humans don’t like change or we try to force the world and others to be the way we would want them to be instead of just letting go of the way we WANT things to be and letting the natural evolution take place.
And yes, learning to be our authentic selves!
Thanks Clare… Reading your insights about this is a GREAT reminder that this is one of the lessons I seem to need to revisit over and over! Maybe it is all up for release and will now resonate in a new way! I appreciate your support!
Charles, I agree with Clare, your post is a beautiful reminder that nature has it’s own divine wisdom and order. It speaks to me of being willing to let a cherished part of myself go in order to make room for something equally precious I haven’t even envisioned yet. Thank you…
Thanks Vikki for this potent reminder! I can think of several profound experiences that came to me while being in and with Nature! You also remind me that when I trust that everything is happening for a reason and that it is for me, not to me… I see the beauty in it ALL! Funny how those things are true, even we we think something else would be “better”. So glad we fly in the same circle!
I so look forward to your emails Charles ~ insights, admissions, lessons-learned, life’s questions and lovely observations. Thank you for taking the time to share and put it out there!
Aahhh…, thanks for the sweet acknowledgement and feedback! You know it means a lot to me!
Love that I am reading your post today…Earth Day! XO
Everything in its own time! Happy you are connected to us AND the earth Julie!