“I love a metaphor. I don’t know if you know that about me.”-Karamo Brown, Queer Eye, Season 5, episode 7
I walk through the world, unaware.
Until one day, I notice.
Noticing changes me. Not a grand, flashy sort of change; rather a quiet, seeps deep down into the marrow sort of change. The kind of change that impacts what I see when I walk through the world. I am aware.
I have been walking past this stretch of the woods for years.
Today I admire that branch reaching out over the trail for sunlight. See how it reaches so much farther than the others? I hear it calling to me, “I am here. I matter. See me.”
Today I do more than admire that branch and notice its reach. I pause to better understand it. I lean in to listen to its story.
As I approach, I follow the branch right down to the earth. It is not a branch at all. It is a tree. Imagine that! A whole, solid tree trunk bending and stretching in pursuit of light. The same light surrounding trees have reached with a linear, unobstructed path straight up to the sky.
I see the struggle this tree has gone through in seeking sun. But it is not only the struggle I see.
I also see the beauty.
This tree is not beautiful despite its struggle.
This tree is not beautiful because of its struggle.
It is simply beautiful. And its truth includes struggle.
I see the tree in its individual glory.
I see the tree as a stunning contribution to the collective forest.
I want to protect the tree. I want to rescue the tree.
This tree does not need my protection. It does not need my rescuing. It is not better for my awareness of it.
Instead, I sense that I am better as a result of listening to its truth. Perhaps I am the one in need of rescue.
I continue my walk.
Seeing one sideways tree opens the door to notice others.
It is a big forest. I have a lot of noticing, leaning in, and listening to do.