While we were living in our rental home we got to have a huge oak tree right in the front yard. It was beautiful. It has been there so long that the rope or the homemade swing is fully embedded into its branch. It created amazing shade in the summer and a slight cover for rain or snow on the walkway in the fall and winter. When the acorns and leaves fell it was so thick on the grass you couldn’t see the ground. You would have to sift through with your feet to find grass. Also, in a house with three little dudes the acorns made for fantastic weapons to throw at each other.
I’ve been around millions of trees, I grew up in the woods, lived in a little woods for our first home, and bought a 30 acre wood for our forever home. So I’m big on trees in general but the one at the rental really stuck out to me. For the first time in years it had kids swinging from it’s swing, climbing its limbs, hatching acorn business plans, and playing in the leaves. There was so much life around it now, a contrast from the years before, and yet the tree continued to do what it had always done in exactly the right way at exactly the right time. It grew and produced exactly when and how it should. It released and rested exactly when and how it should.
In our lives we spend so much time trying to figure out what and when and how and why we’re supposed to be doing things that we can’t see the natural rhythm. We are tempted to be pulled to extremes under the guise of ‘making the most of our time’ but to what end? We want to take care of our health so we meticulously count calories and work our bodies. We want to be successful in our career so we start early, work late, and skip breaks and vacations. We want to make the most of the time with our family so we plan elaborate, expensive vacations where we run as fast as we can and take all the pictures to prove we did it right. We want to be mindful and rest so we either try to force that in with the same ferocity that we take on our other goals or crash and burn to the point that we binge a screen for 12 hours straight to ‘recharge’. (Just writing that all down exhausted me.) It’s as if we’re trying to put the seasons on steroids and in fast forward. Then to top it all off we look for validation on how we’re doing it! We are creating anxiety by attempting to improve on something that comes so naturally in nature. We seek out all the opinions on how to do it that we just create noise to the point that we can’t hear what our bodies and minds need.
Could you imagine a tree attempting to be bigger and better in every season, trying to fit more seasons in in the year, and then rushing around to obtain the input of other trees on how it could grow bigger acorns? It’s down right comical because plants and animals are smarter than that. They rest how they should, to produce when and to the level they can, and they don’t compare the size of their fruits to anyone else.
It is truly incredible how much you can learn, and the level of required perspective you can gain by over simplifying things. This is why I look to my kids or my own younger days for inspiration and clarity on a given subject. Even those examples can sometimes have a layer of complexity to them or outside inputs. When I really need to strip something down I look to nature. The natural world is created so exquisitely to exist exactly as it needs to. A tree doesn’t need to consider if it wants to bud, if other trees are judging the timing with which it buds or asking why it creates leaves rather than blossoms. It pulls exactly what it needs from the ground and from the air and grows and sprouts in perfect timing. As time moves on it works at full capacity growing to new heights and reaching limbs out further than it ever has before. It then slows its growth, drops the leaves and the fruits it no longer needs, and rests. That tree will rest fully for as long as it needs until that right moment comes again to produce those buds and grow once more.
My limited writing skills can’t really do the process justice. It would be really hard to follow all of that with an influencer-esque 5 point plan as I just said we look too much to others for validation of our seasons. If I had anything to offer through this thought it would be to take all of the opportunities as they come. To listen to the still small voice within you that says now is the time to draw in or now is the time to flourish. Quiet the noise to listen to the ques for the natural rhythms of your life.