“Walk tall as the trees, live strong as the mountains, be gentle as the spring winds, keep the warmth of the summer sun in your heart and the great spirit will always be with you." Native American proverb
Those mighty live oaks that blanket the lowcountry are iconic. With their complicated branches reaching and bending, twisting and turning towards the sunshine and rain, they are the epitome of shelter, comfort and strength. They are home to animals and plant life alike. They are shade from our sweltering summer heat. They are protection from the elements for so many life forms.
Sometimes I take their strength for granted. Walking by them, leaning on them, finding comfort beneath there embracing branches. I curse the clean up every spring and fall as they shed leaves by the truckload. I get frustrated by their acorns scattered on my back deck as they jab into my bare feet. I mutter under my breath as I drag their broken branches blown down from a storm to the curb. But there they stand - steadfast and strong every day - not asking for anything from anyone...only wanting to be there so they can serve to protect us.
If a tree were a human, I would like to think I wouldn't feel this way. I would like to think I would embrace and love that person, despite their leaves they let haphazardly fall around or their acorns they drop clumsily every so often. I would love to think that despite these perceived shortcomings, we all have the space to be loved just as we are - broken branches, messy piles, and thick trunk and all.
Maybe as we move through life, we should remember the trees. Selfless and strong, bowing to nothing. Changing for nobody. And always protecting those around us, regardless of who they are.