Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Beauty in the Broken Places

by Kelly

It's one of my favorite things about where we live.

Living in a historic neighborhood, we are fortunate to have many lovely, stately, mature trees. From the glory of their spring blooms, to the welcome shade in the summer, to the amazing colors in the fall, the trees have a way of beautifying our neighborhood all year long.

But in December of 2007, it was a completely different story.

Our city was hit with a devastating and crippling ice storm.  One that destroyed many of the trees in our neighborhood.  And the ones that were able to withstand the storm were heavily damaged.

It's hard to believe that was almost ten years ago.

Thankfully, our neighborhood has recovered.  And for the most part, I don't really think about it any more.  The new trees that were planted after the storm are thriving.  The older surviving trees continue to bloom and grow with the seasons.  In fact, for the majority of the year you can't even really tell that anything happened.  Except during winter.

Because during the winter months, when the trees are bare, you can still see the scars of that terrible storm.

Gnarled branches, misshapen limbs, giant gaps in the canopy...evidence of the triage that was performed at the time. And yet, you can see where the trees are filling in the gaps with smaller limbs growing into the spaces left behind.  It's amazing really...this life force which enables them to fight and grow and thrive despite their injuries.

It seems to me that people are a lot like trees.  How that underneath the life we put out on display, all of us bear the scars of trauma and injuries.  Like leaves, the trappings and busy-ness of our daily lives tends to disguise and distract from our wounds.  Only when we are courageous enough to bare our hearts and be vulnerable, can others see the signs of storms we have weathered.

But being broken or damaged doesn't make us less valuable.  Like the mighty oaks and maples in my neighborhood, these scars add character and tell the story of survival.  Which I tend to think is immensely inspiring and interesting.  In trees and humans alike.

But beyond that, I also believe that there can be beauty in these broken places.  It happens when we allow our wounds to make us more compassionate, more empathetic souls.  It happens when we take our pain and transform it to bring hope and joy to others.  And that in a beautiful thing.

Where do you find beauty in the broken places?  We would love for you to share it with us in either our Flickr pool or on Instagram using #focusingonlife.

Until next time,



Dotti said...

This is the most important thing you could have said to me today, Kelly. Thank you.

Bonnie Gray said...

Sweet Kelly, Your voice is strong and clear. Beautiful and honest. In your photos and in your words. And your life. You are beautiful art. "I realise there's something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they're experts at letting things go."Jeffrey McDaniel

Carol said...

Kelly -this is my favorite post from you ever. It's a beautiful thought, and profound. I love trees and also see them as reflective of the life force. Thank you for this today. I also have to say that your neighborhood is really beautiful. I love historic architecture in all styles, and these houses and landscapes always strike me in your beautiful photography.

Deanna said...

The scars the trees bear means they survived, just as in life. Scars are a testimony to life that we too survived. Beautiful post, Kelly!

Viv@Thoughts from the Desktop said...

Wise an wonderful words Kelly. I will carry them with with me today.

Cathy H. said...

Wonderful post, Kelly. I was reminded a while back that we sometimes go through difficulties in order to be more compassionate to others.

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