I went hiking on Saturday in the forest. A forest filled with old, tall trees that have been on the earth for decades or longer. Pine. Oak. Maple. Fir. Redwood. And more. A narrow trail that plunged down to the lake then climbed back up. Winding along ravines and around trees and brush and ferns and slugs. The trail was muddy in places due to rain. There were a number of large trees that had fallen sometime in the last few months. For some the giant root structures were unearthed and stood vertically while the tree lay horizontal across a ravine or atop other trees. In some places the fallen giants had been cut in two to allow the path to pass.
At first I didn’t take much note of the fallen trees other than to notice when one was fallen and to admire the immense root structure that sometimes towered thirty feet high or more. But then I started to notice the other, smaller trees that were growing up and out of the fallen one. The ferns that erupted along the downed tree. The caverns that were created below the felled tree for wildlife to seek shelter under. The pools of water that had formed in spots where the bark or structure of the tree was breaking down. And the myriad of birds that darted in and out of the water for a bath or a drink. The fungi in pink and brown and orange and yellow decorating the length in a shadow. From this fallen tree so many new and wondrous things were growing and thriving and striving to live.
Nature gets it. Nature understands that change happens. And nature goes through this painful process of tearing things down and breaking things open and upending things that stood for years and years and years. So that something new may grow.
If I were my own best friend I would tell myself to go hiking more often. And spend some time looking at fallen trees. And thinking about all the new things that may grow when something large falls. Mourn and grieve the loss of the big thing that has fallen if that is something that meant something to you. Be uncomfortable with the loss of what was known. Sit in the space of discomfort and fear and let it be. Let it simmer. Let it boil. Because from that upending of the known comes the new and wondrous and the world as you never knew it could be. Nature gets it. Go hiking.