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June 10, 2019

A New Way of Seeing

I love my home. And for the last 7 years, I have loved the trees that surrounded it. They obscured much of my home from view, and kept my yard completely in the shade, yes. But they had always been here. They were safe and familiar.

But like many things that seem safe and familiar, they were silently wreaking destruction. Over the years, the root system had ran deep, mangling pipes, cracking the foundations, subtly lifting the sidewalks just enough to make them dangerous. After all, you often don’t see what’s going to trip you up until you are flat on the ground looking at it.

Had the decision been mine alone to make, I’m not sure if I would have been bold enough to remove the trees, even though I was aware of the destruction the roots were causing. It’s like that sometimes, with things that run deep, with strong walls we build around ourselves and hide behind. We live within their confines, and we convince ourselves we are happy because we feel safe…even though we know, on some level, we are paying a price for hiding.

But the decision was not mine alone to make. And so, over the past few days, the trees have been taken down one by one, and the shadows that my home has been hiding behind have been suddenly lifted. The change was dramatic, as they sometimes are. Light now fills a space where once shade reigned supreme. This morning, for the first time since living here, I stepped out of my front door and felt sunlight on my face.

I do mourn for the trees that are gone, for the branches whose berries drew Cedar Waxwings and tree frogs to our doorstep, and whose lovely white blooms announced the coming of spring each year. But those same branches had shielded my home from light for a very long time. And I know a change that lets in light is always good.

Now my yard is bathed in sun. I plant happy yellow marigolds in a spot where, before, only shade-loving plants would bloom. A new phase is beginning.

I feel bold.

I am ready.

***Artwork: The Eve of the Advent of a New Way of Seeing, by Amy L. Alley

*This post originally appeared on my blog, The Boldness Initiative, on April 21 2011. I began this blog after a heartbreak left me immobilized, and I used 30 days of daily writing and sharing to life myself up again. I have recently resumed posting on this blog, and you can access at

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