Monday, August 17, 2009


Brace yourself for this little profundity:

Sometimes a tree is just a tree. Sometimes, it's a reminder that what we're looking at is a universal nudge.

No seriously, brace yourself. I'm about to speak in metaphors. Take this tree, for instance. I think it's a redbud. It lives at the edge of this pretty little pond in the Botanical Gardens in Fort Worth, Texas. And on this day, when I snapped this shot, I was simply looking at how pretty it was with its reflection in the water.

Today, something entirely different occurred to me as I looked at it. You see how the reflection in the pond isn't the exact opposite of the tree? In fact, it's the underside of the tree reflected in the water, not the tree we are seeing from a distance. But still, we look at it squarely and think, yeah, that's the tree, reflected in the water.

Today, as I looked at this picture, it made me ponder the distortion that frequently enters into that small, internal conversation I often have with myself about...well, me. About my failures, my shortcomings, and my dark, veiny underleaf. That is to say: When you look at me, you just see the tree. I see something completely different.

My vision of me is coming up through the water. Shot through with uninvited shadows rippling the image. Maybe that explains my habitual, none-too-generous assessment of myself and my accomplishments, and underscores all those things I know I should be grateful for:

1.My husband.
2.Our kids.
3.Our grandson.
5.My sisters.
6.Our home.
7.Good friends.
8.Being a writer.
9.Our cats.
10.Trees, reflected in water.

Sometimes, my history floats just under the surface, distorting my idea of myself. And the reflection? It's not necessarily all that accurate. Maybe that's where the old, "Keep your head up," saying comes from. As in, "Don't look down there and scare yourself. Here is where the real tree is."

Okay, I warned you about the metaphors. Don't say I didn't.


Renee said...

Barbara this is such a fantastic post.

I want you to know that the tree and the underside of the tree are equally beautiful to me.

Love Renee xoxo

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...


Provocative thoughts. Yes, what we all present to the world is different from how we see ourselves from under the water. The view from under the water is blurry and distorts. Both of those view are just reflections - not the real us.

Maybe under the water is just one of several other vantage points. Maybe we need to climb up inside the tree and enjoy the truest view of who we are with the eyes of our loving higher self - who knows us completely, and loves and understands us totally without judgment.

Oh, if only we could all do that just once a day.

Barbara said...

Renee--Thank you! I so appreciate that! And
Bonnie, What a beautiful comment! Thank you. I love to climb in trees. And that's a very good idea. :p) Hugs to you both!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

GReat post and yes, lots of metaphors...but very good ones. I think we sometimes don't want to face what the underside of the tree is...what is really inside of us..and play to what is acceptable on the outside. Catch is, the beauty of the outside comes from the inside..the underside. So shed those murky waters and enjoy the beauty!

Holly said...

"Now we see as through a glass darkly, but then we will see with eyes correctly." It is the way of Human Beings to under value themselves, distort how they see themselves...and it is the power of love that helps them begin to see the truth of themselves. It's a journey. A long one for many.

stregata said...

What is it that makes us so very harsh when we view ourselves?

Sarah Sullivan said...

I think our history is what defines us sometimes..what makes the veiny underside of us so beautiful in a soul kind of way rather than the eye kind of way. At least if we are lucky it does. I know you have searched through that part of you and have become a more beautiful person because of it. So maybe... it is regret you need to leave unlooked at and stay present with what an amazing person you have become? Wonderful post and you know..I do love a good metaphor!
Love ya, Sarah

Snap said...

Great post. Love the metaphors! See with eyes wide open ... TODAY.

Renee said...

Barbara cheers to today.

Love Renee xoxo