“If a tree falls in the forest…

….and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?“

Whenever something or someone breaks, a weakness or an abrasion, a inner wound was first there festering, and rotting away at the bones of the tree, the inner sanctum, long before the fall into painful oblivion.

The area where the tree breaks leaves behind the jagged splinters of yesterday, which jut with fierce abandon towards the sky.

Do the other trees sense that this fella beside them was teetering, and on the brink?

After all, they whisper to themselves in their windy and whispy voices, he seemed sturdy enough just yesterday. As his graceful self gives way and decides to topple , do they warn in mutual voice , “ timber, catch our companion?”

He is caught. He does not reach the forest floor, because there are multiple plantings, and smaller saplings which cushion his descent. Now, he is cradled lovingly with other branches, and given time, he may yet decide to grow again.

We all fall… we descend towards the floor when we hear surprising bad news, an illness, an accident, a murder, or murders, someone abusing another, or hurting our children… a catastrophe of events.

Our inner instincts react, and we want to help, too soothe, to comfort, and soften the blow. We feel sympathy and empathy, if we are human, and in tune with ourselves.

In “The Lord of the Rings, “ “The Two Towers,”

one of my favorite scenes is when the “ Ents” come to the service of helping human men. The “ Ents” are the trees, and the choreography of their movements is gorgeously enticing. The voice of the main “ Ent” is brilliantly portrayed.

“ Treebeard, also known as Fangom, was the oldest of the Ents left in middle-earth, an ancient tree like being who was the “ shepherd of trees.” He had a very tall, and stiff limbed appearance, with bark like skin and leafy hair.”

“ I am no tree. I am an Ent”

Standing in this forest, I can hear the faint grumbling sound of the Ents around me, and if I peer closely at their bark, I could swear an eye or two was sneaking a look, careful not to really let me see.

The scent of pine, the freshness in my nostrils of river air , the chirping of birds, and a novel on my lap, and the beginning of the unraveling of stress and angst commences. It’s the uncoiling of the serpent within, always at the ready to strike, gentler now, and loosening occurs as the quiet lapping of water upon rocks lulls your body into calm.

It’s not certain when you realized that you were wound up too tight, but your body knows, and it reacts accordingly.

Different ailments throughout your person begin to fester, and demand attention like the hornet coming in for a landing upon your skin. You see the dangling legs, and the shape of the insect, and your body tenses because it instinctively knows this creature is dangerous, and yet you remain still, hoping this insidious bug will pass you by and not inject its stinger through your tender skin.

If only people came in this type of attire. Recognizable as being a friend or a foe, you would know to be on guard, and sit in silence, or run screaming for the hills of protection when encountered.

At first meeting there is charm, and wonder of what this person is all about. The not knowing, the intrigue. It is someone knew, what are they all about anyways. There is mystery.

Ever so slowly you glimpse the true form of the individual morph into what you think that you know… but you don’t. It’s an act. It’s not truth.. it is an illusion. You are being played, but by the time you realize it, you are hurt, and also hooked, like a fish on the line, you are trailed through the water, eyes bulging, with fright, not knowing if you are dead or alive.

The moment you reach the air, you sense what terror is, as you gasp for something to stay in the world that you are seeking to understand.

It is the discarding. You flop about on the dock trying to propel your fish self back into the river, but it takes such an effort to get into the big welcoming blue, and you are running out of time and will to even get there.

Will the distracted fisherman lend a hand? You feel so small, you are barely enough to be the sustenance of an hors ’doeve, let alone be satisfying enough to fill the tummy.

Throw me back, let me find my freedom again among my fish friends..

I promise I’ll avoid, and swim clear of the tantalizing worm, juicy though it may be, to be free and well in this big lake of life giving water.

I won’t be hooked again, snookered, taken off guard. I’ve learned another important lesson. Fish are not always as they appear from their outer scales. Inside they may have swallowed something plastic, which is insidiously growing, and distorting their organs. It feels as if something is off kilter, and there is an attempt to cough up the offending bit of garbage, but it’s taken hold, and intuitively has morphed its way into your organs, where it will then inhabit unhindered, until your last fish breath.

And… here comes the rain.. The wind picks up… the waves turn up, the leaves turn and flutter with the expectation of moisture. They welcome it… and the birds quieten.

This is healthy expectation…

Skies are grey… and there is that still… before the storm of tears begin like the torrential water from the heavens.

It is needed..This build up of emotion and pent up feeling needs to be loosened, or you will dry up like a fallen leaf from the tree. It wishes it could have stayed dangling from the life giving branch attached to the main nightly trunk, but it was it’s time.. it is the nature of things.

Amongst the growing of things, there is the reality of new life always emerging.

The slamming of the screen door can either be a good bye or a hello, it is yours for the choosing.

It is the ripple effect of life. One relationship that is unhealthy will take hold and inhabit, and before you realize what is happening… you change… you question the little things, what you thought you knew and believed.

An early morning skier breaks the surface. The sound of a boat motor is heard before being seen. The river life is beginning, with the humans getting up, and bringing the noise.

Then… it stops… the skier has fallen, and the lone slalom ski is a far ways off, and he must swim for it, if he wants to rise again from the water. There is conversation between the driver of the boat, and the skier. Instructions are given, and brief conversation is had..

He is barefooting.. The spray is huge, and the jubilant screams of “ Ya” reverberates on the Bay.

For a moment you are distracted by this victory. It comes back.. the memories, and the expectations of the direction you thought your life would take… but it was all an illusion, and it’s time to sit with that, and grieve the death of the dream.

We all have them.. whether we admit them out loud to another or not..

It’s not fun to be discarded like you are not enough. Inherently you know you are enough, so when another does not acknowledge your worth… it hurts… badly. It festers, the open wound in your flesh. You don’t understand what happened.

There were signs, red flags along the way. You chose to ignore them because you fell in love with this person. You thought it was mutual. You were mistaken.

You were discarded like something that had unpleasantly stuck to your shoe…sticky used up gum on a hot sultry afternoon.

This hurts… but this is the chance you take in relationships. To love is risky, your people can leave you, and being without them is agony. Still deliberating on whether” it’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.” I’m not sure about this statement.

It’s essential that you allow yourself to be enveloped by your emotions.. important to let them wash over you, as the misplaced showering of giant tears… warm, and wet…

Your shoulders shake, your head aches, and the wonder of what you thought would be squeezes your heart and does not relent. This is what misplaced love feels like.

Unexpected humor arises like a sprig of fresh budding when you see this sign in your yard…

Well…what? ….is next.. For some reason this amuses me, and slowly I realize that another door is closing.. and even though this sign is saying simply the approximate location of the sand point well.. it also begs the imaginary question… of well?

2 thoughts on ““If a tree falls in the forest…

  1. Powerful and well written – I feel your pain. What immediately came to my mind was, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Quoted in Hebrews 13:5 from Joshua 1:5 – Israel was about to enter the biggest battles of their national life but the Lord promised He would never leave them of forsake them. You have been through huge battles and survived! To write the way you do is a gift from God. I remember having a conversation with Mrs. Brereton after she had lost John at the age of 49. She referred to Isaiah 54:5-7.

    For your Maker is your husband,
    the Lord of hosts is his name;
    and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
    the God of the whole earth he is called.
    6 For the Lord has called you
    like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
    like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
    says your God.
    7 For a brief moment I deserted you,
    but with great compassion I will gather you.

    For now we see as “through a glass darkly but then face to face.” Jill keep provoking us to eternal thoughts by your writing. Hugs, Frank


    1. Thank you for your words Frank. That verse, ”I will never leave you or forsake you” has been such a poignant reassurance that I grip tightly in my hand. I used to think on it so often as I stood over my Dad, while he lay on his bed, somewhat contorted in body, eyes tightly closed. He was trying to shut out the world, and yearned with such fervent hope to be transported to his earthly home. His faith has spurned me on, and his guidance compels me to “stay the course.” I have often referred to the Lord God as “ my husband.” He does not disappoint. The way is rocky, and the water threatens to pull you down under, but If I keep my eyes on the horizon… he holds me…
      much love to you and Jean and family,


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