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Wounds Transformed

the arms of the old cedar invited her once more into its shelter

the small bare feet are cradled by the now worn, smooth bark cups

where the branches meet the heart of the tree

each hand and foot -hold are a familiar path

leading to safety, leading to solitude, leading to security

here she is held

here she is safe

here she is understood

she came to her mother many times with her hurts and sorrows

“Go find a bottle and see how many tears you can get in it!”

The tears won’t go in the bottle

they run down her face and dissolve

she can’t even go to her with her bottle of tears

she cannot go to her

she goes to her cedar haven and learns that the bark

becomes more fragrant absorbing her salty tears

here her tears are soaked in, held and loved

never turned away, never judged

solid, permanent, strong, constant


her tree becomes softer as she reaches the top

the strong arms of its base turn into delicate young fingers

the light filters in like lace on her skin

the branches surrender to her slight weight

the wind rocks her in an inconsistent rhythm

bending, bobbing, flowing, diving

she dares to go higher, testing her fear,

there is more movement here, more tension, more life, more growth

will she always be embraced here

or will her cedar crack from her inconsiderate advances

she learns her limits

she learns respect

she learns how to care for the tender new fronds

that push out with frothy new greenness

when they are caressed they release their fragrant oil

when they are abused they lose their life and turn to brittle gold


the girl comes down from her tree when her father returns from his frequent trips

his arms are as solid as the cedar

his chest is broad, firm and soft

when she presses her ear against it

the words of the story he is reading

disappear into the rumbling vibration of his deep, rich voice

she is cradled

their connection is unspoken

it is held by a delicate thread of reciprocal movements

compassionate energy

when the mother hurts him

she aches at his raw sensitivity to her harshness

she knows him

he senses her

it is the most exquisite gift

she is a small shadow of him

she sits on the end of the log he is sawing

darts to pick up the flying kindling that is being split

as he bends over his vegetable rows

his repetitive hoeing uncovers the new potatoes, thick carrots, brilliant beets

she helps to gather this harvest

the aroma of the minty rich earth becomes a scent that will sooth her

it becomes a resource to that allows her to sense in to peace


this little girl does not know that she carries the wounds of rejection

or the gifts of connectedness

the wounds have been deepened and confirmed by subsequent harsh relationships

her walls were built higher, thicker

jagged glass jutting from top to keep her safe

she peered from behind the walls stepping out briefly to search for that connection

but she did not know how to dance with the balance of leading

and allowing herself to be lead

experiencing that unwavering trust of a partner who would hold her

no matter how awkward her steps were

and holding her partner in that same delicate and steady embrace

her safe place was away and isolated

safe but alone

safe without true joy

safe without true sorrow

safe without strong connection

safe without belonging


Now the girl is 60

I sit beneath a cedar tree

knowing that the strong root system that lies beneath me

connects to every branch that shapes this exquisite tree

like the layers of years that have shaped my life

I have been able to look back

to connect how my roots have affected the growth of my branches

the scars of the wounds are still held in every ring that is my trunk and core

but instead of them forming distortions and a thicker bark

they are softened by my understanding and willingness to be vulnerable

I will struggle with keeping myself open forever

the struggle of this awkward dance is becoming more fluid and familiar

it comes with the flow of movement that is

created and crafted

offered and accepted

held and challenged

questioned and answered

with a voice that is heard and listened to

with a heart that pauses to pay attention to the delicate needs of myself and others

this dance allows me to connect and honor every part of myself

to bring me closer to others

through harmony, balance and awareness

my mind is not so afraid to listen to the messages that my body is giving me

the flow between mind-body-heart and spirit

brings a rich connection that accepts old injuries and nurtures new growth

there is gratitude in my heart for the wounds that have brought me to this place

wounds transformed