As you know I like to walk, and each track I take varies with different types of fitness and enthusiasm levels. One of my favourite places to walk is an old decommissioned golf course.
I am not exactly sure the reason why the course was abandoned, however when walking the steep almost vertical hills that the golfers would have had to negotiate, I can imagine the poor players hacking their way up each hill desperately trying to get to the last hole only for the ball to roll back down again, or even better, slightly tapping the ball straight off the sudden drop and watching it gently roll down the entire course without having to take an other swing, it kind of makes sense why it was not successful.
The other reason why I like this course is not only for its great cardio work out, but it is also home to some of the most beautiful gum trees in the area. Looking even closer at the grounds, I have to sadly assume that a lot more of these magestic trees where probably felled to create the original golf course itself, and seeing that it is on such a large part of a very exposed hill side, the absence of a protective forrest leaves the course open to all of natures elements, such as sun, rain and one of the most frightening elements in the hills (next to fire) is, wind.
As a hills person I have experienced first hand the awesome and threatening conditions that a continuous barreling gust of wind can deliver. Lying in bed at night hearing the house creak and shudder as this force thunders up the hill side and across the ridges, can be nerve racking at the best of times, and lets face it wind can be quite challenging not only for a golf ball, it can also be quite damaging to anything in its path, even the most sturdiest of trees. This brings me to my illustration, I am sharing with you today, called The Fallen Tree – felt pen and water colour on paper.
When walking the grounds, I follow a well worn and muddy track. This pathway winds around the area, looping you through the course, showing off breath taking sennery of landscapes, trees, flora and native birds. On one part of the track there is a very large tree that has fallen over the path. This has never really bothered me, as I just simply move up off the track for a couple of meters, avoiding the dislocated trunk, then rejoin the older path as I moved past the fallen tree. I never really gave it much thought, except for just recently. As I was taking my usual route, I noticed that around the top of the tree was another track starting to form. This new track was a break away from the well worn older track that had been blocked by the fallen giant. You see myself and other regular hikers had created this new path stamping out another way to move around a very large obstacle.
This was amazing to me has I could see this being something that can happen not only in the external world but also in our internal world. This “fallen tree” can happen when an event occurs large enough to make you stop and assess what you are doing and where you are going. This obstacle could be happy things, like a commitment to a new partner, a birth of a child, or even the start of a blossoming new career. The obstacle is something making you diverge from your original path. Another cause for this obstacle could be painful, it could be one of grief, trauma, or a forced change due to external events outside of your control.
So what happens when a large tree falls on top of the path you are walking? Do you move the tree out of the way? Do you climb it over it? or do you take a different path altogether leaving your original track behind? All of these options are completely valid. However looking at this new track on the golf course, it dawned on me that we don’t have to make huge changes to our path to remove an obstacle, it could be a completely unconscious thing we do. Like the new track forming around the fallen tree our new life can organically grow without resistance, IF you accept that the tree has fallen in the first place.
This tree is a wonderful reminder of how we can move around these obstacles with gentle peace and acceptance of what is, whether it be situational, physical or emotional. Now I am not suggesting that we all can glide around the top of the branches instinctively, happily finding ourselves back on our true path, nothing is ever that simple. What I am saying is, that the most important thing to do here, is first see that the tree has fallen.
If you can not see the obstacle, you can not walk around it. So the hardest thing to do here is to acknowledge the obstacle and embrace the challenge. A fallen tree doesn’t have to change your path completely it merely alters the way you move around it. A tree falling doesn’t change the very core of you, it is just a tree that has fallen. The key here is to simply stay true to you and your path, moving around the things that block you. You may have to walk up the hill for a couple of meters but you will rejoin your original track soon enough. Perhaps the best thing to do here is, to walk slower and look up from the track every once and awhile so you are able to move around the tree and not find yourself within its branches.
Hope everyone is keeping safe and having a peaceful start to the week.