Finding sway

People in this world are either branch or trunk.Sand storm, Kalahari desert

Yes, I am vastly oversimplifying. Bear with me.

I used to be a branch type of gal. Creative, growth-oriented, swaying in the breeze but firmly anchored.

When young and single, my trunk was my family of origin—namely my mom and dad.

They were stable, oh so Midwestern, oh so predictable (except for that brief stint with disco lessons which we all studiously avoided discussing—I chalk it up to midlife crisis).

When I married, I wed a man who was stable, steady, balanced his checkbook to the penny.

He became the trunk to my branches.

It is oh so easy to be a branch—to grow, change with the season, be spontaneous, sway with the breeze—when you are firmly anchored to a solid base.

At some point in life and my marriage, I became the trunk. Unwillingly, perhaps unwittingly, I became the solid force. The one who planned ahead. Paid the bills. Talked about having a Plan B. Valued security above all else.

Because when you value security above all else, if your trunk is cracking or damaged by storms, you realize that the branches will not survive. That eventually, you will crack, break and fall.

No. It is better, you think, to go through the pruning and replant yourself somewhere new. Being your own trunk is preferable to dying on the vine.

I was remembering just the other night, the light heart, the spontaneous spirit, the devil-may-care girl I used to see in the mirror. The one who had faith in her safety net, knew she had a fallback.

I miss her. I want to find my way back to her.  At least in part.

I resent, some days, that I am now having to be so very solid. So very dependable. Strong, no matter the storm.

When a summer breeze playfully blows by, I want to dance with it rather than sit, anchored to the ground.

I want to be moved by it.

I am sure that part of my learning in life was meant to be this transition.

I am wishing for some sway, though. It is hard to be solid and dance with the wind, flirt with the Santa Anas.

c2ff358c-706c-46b7-a94a-06e195dac4cfI know a woman who is all branch. I have seen her run from having to face everything from a gentle rainfall to a surly Nor’Easter. She has become weak through the years because she has not had to weather anything.

I’ll be honest. Sometimes I envy her. Someone else does the heavy lifting—always.

And yet, she lives in constant fear. She puts on a brave front, but I see into her soul. She is ever fearful. And her world becomes small because of that.

Becoming a solid base is preferable to becoming so insubstantial you can only survive in a hothouse.

So here I sit, in all my glory. Feeling anything but glorious. Rather, weathered, careworn, craggy.

I endure, though.

There may come a time when this tree withers. When it is time for me to start anew, a sapling again, with a cutting from this substantial form.

So I take my lessons as they come. I know how to sway and blossom.

And endure. Now I know better how to endure.

It is a beautiful tree that can do all three.





29 Comments Add yours

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Thoughtful and intriguing as always Kristine. I do like the image of pruning and replanting, often painful yet necessary.

  2. markbialczak says:

    A tree grows in your land, Kay. You’ve done a great job watching, nurturing, learning. Now for the magnificence.

  3. trillie says:

    Very beautiful and very close to home. I hope you find balance soon!

  4. The stronger the trunk the more beautiful the sway. One day you will be both.

  5. And you, as that beautiful tree, are spreading your seeds. And those seeds and your strength are germinating and growing inside each of us lucky enough to have picked one up in the breeze.

    1. candidkay says:

      What a beautiful image! Thank you:).

  6. KM Huber says:

    I swayed early but also assumed the trunk rather early–this is what I know now. I disguised my “trunk-ness” even from myself, and as your post so beautifully states, therein lies fear. I, too, believe that one is trunk and branch simultaneously with a tendency to favor one over the other from time to time. Perhaps with age comes the balance of seeking both. Great post, Kay.

  7. Marie says:

    Luminous, Kay. Introspective and honest with a wistful awareness of old dreams. I think you sway beautifully.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Marie. You are always so eloquent . . .

  8. Wow!
    As you are now the trunk, your children will enjoy being the branches.
    I guess that’s life. Slowing swaying into stability

    1. candidkay says:

      That’s a great way to look at it–my stability allows them sway.

  9. Elaine says:

    I am a trunk…I am proud of it. So many people depend on me (my parents who are in poor health, my children, etc). Yes, it is tiring, but it is also rewarding. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The trunk is stability, love, core.

    1. candidkay says:

      I am trying to find the beauty in it, Elaine. I did at first, but there are days it feels heavy. I’m sure for you too.

  10. Christine says:

    1. Kristine I am always impressed with your ability to constantly find new topics and write so eloquently.
    2. Mark – brilliantly said
    3. Yes trunks are sturdy but don’t sell them short. The trunk rises high throughout the tree to Join the branches and although strong at the base allows itself to sway With the branches. If it didn’t it would break. You can be strong and still sway a bit.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you for the kind words, friend.

    1. candidkay says:

      That means a lot coming from you, Cynthia. Thanks for being such a loyal reader. Means the world.

  11. Ninasusan says:

    Reblogged this on Ninasusan and commented:
    Great post!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you so much for the reblog! I truly appreciate it.

      1. Ninasusan says:

        You nailed it! I think it is one of the best blogs I’ve read!!!

  12. And then there was balance 🙂 Yes, and you remember the pain and anguish that it took to find it.
    But now you do love very much that person that endured…struggled…and crossed that fear barrier.
    You have become a more beautiful person because of that. And now you can give, and attract, from a more secure and understanding place because of that empathy and compassion that has been created within you.
    Look in the mirror and say out loud, ‘I love you for the beautiful woman that you are!’. And accept her with that love you have now given to her. You journey has now created an ability to give that love, where before all of your days were filled with loving ‘everyone else’. Once you reach the self within, and realise its importance, your life takes on new meaning and you give from another place. That new energy attracts accordingly.
    Could you handle a beautiful soul filled man who would treat you from a very giving place within. With no underlying wants or needs that eventually surface to test you both. Then be that person.
    Release all those bits that are still around the edges because of what you’ve been through.
    Remove those things that you know inside are ‘protecting’ that fragile heart within.
    Reveal the truth that you have become and show the world what you now are. Not for them, this is for you so that you do have faith in yourself and begin to stand in your truth. Say no, with integrity, and mean it when you need to. Show yourself that you deserve this, are worth this, and begin to love that lovely heart within by being loving to yourself.
    But watch out…are you ready for this man! He’s out there, and when you are truly ready……… 🙂 Namaste

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, Mark. Why do I get the feeling these poetic words of wisdom flow in nanoseconds to you? Beautiful and so kind. Thank you for the gift.

      1. Dale says:

        Wow… what Mark said. I was all gung-ho to agree with you that I have become even more the trunk than ever (and oft times resenting it) and that, at times, I would so like to sway and dance.

        Then I read what Mark said. And I agree with you that his words are poetic and wise and beautiful. And now I have to rethink my whole situation.

      2. candidkay says:

        You and I both, Dale:).

  13. lmarieallen says:

    Man, how I would love to sway! I’ve been a trunk since childhood, supporting a very branchy mother. And in adulthood, I always attract the swayers. Wouldn’t it be great to just be carefree and fly by the seat of my pants, if only for a while? My therapist says that she doubts my ability to give up control long enough to be a branch:)

    1. candidkay says:

      Ah, control:). I think the best part of being a branch is that someone else pockets that worry for you! Give it a try and tell me how it goes! I may follow.

  14. Beautiful. I loved thinking about this and the analogy with the tree. Yes. Very lovely.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you:). Wishing you some sway.

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