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oakThis little saying is one of my favorites. There’s something to be said for holding your ground, for becoming someone’s oak tree. We have a lot of waffles and wet noodles in the world, not nearly enough oak trees. I refer to those who constantly fold, as soggy pasta. Over cooked starch, mushy noodles.

Naturally there is also a time for surrender and for changing course. In my house we have a saying, “stubborn past the point of stupidity.” Pretty much everyone in my house suffers from random bouts of this affliction, including me.  Mostly you see the symptoms in our inability to let go of stuff, material stuff. We will hang onto something broken in the hopes that we might get around to fixing it some day. Whatever it is, it’s probably beyond repair and we’re never going to have time anyway, but hope springs eternal.

We hang onto arguments and discussions, too. We’re like a pack of pit bulls, we lock down and don’t let go. I think that’s far more of a girl thing actually, my husband is forever playing referee and telling everyone to get over it, let it go, don’t start. Of course, he’s not exactly a shrinking violet when he gets a bee in his bonnet, either.

Long ago when I was about 7, my step father was just finishing building a boat underneath a giant oak tree. It was the grandfather of all oak trees, a mammoth thing that provided shade during the work. One day, with a giant crack that sounded like a couple of freight trains colliding, this tree just came down with a mighty crash. It did some damage to the boat that was nearly completed, but what was so amazing was how it left all the people untouched. There we all were standing among the branches, huge limbs on each side of us, branches that could have killed us all instantly if they had come just a few inches closer. Five people completely untouched, not even a scratch. I remember those leaves, they tinkled like bells and quivered from the vibration. As soon as the tree fell there was the most incredible warm gust of wind that blew across like somebody exhaling a gentle and peaceful breath.

It’s a bit amusing, one of my favorite memories is the day a giant oak tree fell on my stepdad’s boat, a treasured memory I’m fairly sure he doesn’t share, but I remember the beauty in that moment, the crackle in those leaves, a warm breeze of protection blowing across us, and the keen awareness that there are forces at work in the world that we just don’t understand.

***** This is a repost from 2014