One walk, five photos

Nature’s examples of burnout & self-care

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The raw and broken tree looked like a gaping wound.

Today was the first day the air quality in the East Bay canyon where I live felt clear enough to go for a walk. As I walked, I thought back over the past few weeks…so many community heartbreaks. I rounded the corner on the trail and stopped in my tracks; I was confronted with the twisted remains of what had been a majestic live oak. It was painful to see, it felt like the fallen tree represented all the difficult situations we have witnessed, experienced or are currently struggling through. Nature’s own community memorial.

I reached out my hand to touch the broken place.

My touch seemed to be saying “I am so sorry.” Not to the tree, not to any one of these situations, but to everything. I could not continue the walk…I saw more broken trees ahead, one obstructing the path. I turned around and started my hike back home.

As I walked back up the canyon, I saw more examples of pain, struggle, and resilience in nature. I offer them to you as meditations or as questions to consider:

Are you overwhelmed? Is something that seemed small at first now surrounding you?

Are you producing fruit, even in dark places? Even where it seems improbable for any brightness to thrive?

How do you cope with stress? Has your abundant provision for others ultimately caused your demise?

Has your desire for protection and boundary transformed into a restricting limit? Has self-protection become isolation and pain?

Does the pain just pass right through you? Have you grown around the painful point? Are you scarred but thriving anyway?

I would love to see your examples of nature’s resilience or hear about things in the natural world that bring you hope.

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