Monday, May 6, 2013

It was a windy spring weekend. The sun was out, the sky was blue, the clouds were white and puffy.  People were taking walks in the park and enjoying the beauty of nature. 

There were fitness buffs blind to the beauty around them, with ear buds in their ears listening to music, some were talking on their cell phones.  Some people were pushing strollers obliviously through the park, while texting, missing the beauty of nature, and worse, not showing their children the peace that can exist in a park – green grass, tall trees, birds flying and ducks at the lake. 

But one elderly woman was walking taking a look at everything around her.  She took her walk slowly and was smiling at the world.  She enjoyed the chirp of ever bird and walked to the beat of her own rhythm.   

She witnessed the cameras of We Solved It and noticed that photographs were being taken throughout the park, including that of some of the creatures within nature and stopped to say that she appreciated we were capturing this as she smiled.
This woman’s name was Carolyn.  She has walked the park for more than twenty years with her friends.   She loves the park and knows that certain animals there, know her and who she is because they encounter each other each day on these walks she takes.

Carolyn lost one of her dear friends, Frank a few years ago.  Frank loved the park as much as she did.   He would walk with her regularly.  They shared many lovely walks together.  She spoke of the music concerts in the park that are free in the balmy summer evenings which she would enjoy with a picnic dinner and lawn chairs.   She spoke of the enjoyment of just being in the park right up to the time when Frank could not walk very well anymore.  But even with a walker, Frank would do his very best to walk with Carolyn – it was a pastime they enjoyed and loved to share with one another.  Even struggling with his walker, he made an effort to take nature in, even just for a little while.

When Frank passed away, Carolyn still continued to walk her walks in the park.  She has many other friends whom she walks the park with, too.  But without Frank there, it is not exactly the same.  She wanted to channel her grief into something more positive and instead celebrate Frank.  Suddenly the idea came to her to plant a tree for Frank in his honor.

She was excited and it was something she wanted to do.  She gathered her other friends together and they all decided to chip in and select the perfect tree together.   They chose this lovely purple and green tree that could bloom pink blossoms.   When you think about it... A blossoming tree is special because it gives them all something to look forward to.

There was only one challenge… the city did not want the tree planted, for a variety of reasons Carolyn and her friends could not understand.  What was the harm in planting a tree?   Trees are beautiful, they help the planet, the park is full of them and if Carolyn and her friends agreed to take turns taking good care of it, it wasn’t going to cost the city any maintenance money. If they agreed to where the tree was going to be planted, the city could ensure that the tree was not going to be planted in a place where its roots would crack concrete sidewalks or break through sprinkler plumbing or anything or grow too tall to obstruct any view or interfere with any building.  Carolyn's loyal friendship in wanting to honor her friend's memory and joy of nature and the park is a celebration.

It took Carolyn TWO YEARS to get approval.  But she was very determined to be able to have he right to honor her friend.  There is no head stone here, this isn't like a cemetary plot.  This is just a tree.  A beautiful tree.  She fought the city and won and finally, FINALLY got to plant the tree in Frank’s honor.   She was anxious to share it, we we wanted to have our cameras share it with all of you. 

Now when Carolyn goes for a walk, she can share Frank’s tree with everyone.  She can go sit next to it as there is a bench nearby.  She can tend to it with her friends and now when she takes that walk around the park, Frank is with her in more than just spirit in that walk – she can see her bird friends enjoy it and other people enjoy it, too.

If you have lost a loved one, consider planting a tree.  It doesn't have to be at a public place, it could be at your place or in a container pot you will take with you whenever you move. It could be a small Bonsai tree.  Or it could even be a large tree you plant at your childhood home with and for the remaining family where they reside.  You could even make it a habit to 'give life' and start giving plants, flower shrubs on your loved one's anniversary of their passing to others as your own way to remember and honor them. It's a great way to be able to allow their life to live on and give joy to others in the beauty of life which grows in their memory.  It's a great way for you to be able to take care and nurture something living that is as beautiful as the memories you shared with that person when they were here.  It's also a very ceremonious way to gather with friends or family who may also want to share in the grief process and be able to give back in their way, too - much like how Carolyn did with her group of friends. 

The next time you are in nature – UNPLUG – get off your cell phone, take the ear buds out of your ears, wake up, pay attention and take time to enjoy the beauty of nature around you.  Share it with your friends, your family, your kids – take it in, breathe deeply, listen to the wind blow, the birds chirp and watch the leaves dance on the tree branches, because it just may be Frank or someone else actually trying to wave to you to say ‘hello.’

~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It


Post a Comment