The Beauty of Pain

I love trees, driftwood, shells, shark teeth and rocks. I know it’s a little weird, but I’m drawn to look for the “interesting something” left behind in the woods or on the beach. They tell a story. Even their shape and design lets you know that they’ve experienced something (if only we knew it all). A few weeks ago, David and I hiked up behind Lily lake in the Rocky Mountains. Once high enough, we saw more twisted trees and huge “Christmas Trees”. There were piles of wood that looked like a graveyard for trees. I noticed the branches with interesting designs on them-like someone had carved artwork into them. David said “maybe it’s from the beetles”. I didn’t want that to be true. I was hoping for some surprising story about water drops and wind. I posted it on FB and asked if anyone knew. My friend’s husband was a horticulturalist-he knew. Confirmed beetle damage. I was sad. I wanted a prettier, more elegant tale. I didn’t want damage and death to be part of the story. I have to say that after a while I was reminded, as trite as it sounds, that pain is part of life; that scars can be beautiful; that some of the things we hate in life bring about the most change and growth-and even death in some respects. I’m sure if the wood could speak, we would hear how saddened it was that the beetle chose to attack it. We’d hear about the fight it fought, then lost. We’d hear about the pain as the beetles worked it’s way under the bark and “carved”. We’d hear about the moment of death and we’d be sad. What would I say back? I’d say that among all of the other seemingly perfect branches to pick up, I chose this one—marked, carved, gnarled…and interesting.

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