When I was walking in my neighborhood two weeks ago, I saw this tree stump and wondered why it had been decorated it this way. After pondering it for some time, the story I made up was that the homeowners didn’t want the tree there and didn’t want to take out the stump. I suspected these materials were placed in this way to keep people from tripping over it.
I felt sad that what I imagined to be a perfectly healthy tree had been destroyed. When I looked at the stump, I was reminded of a morning walk I took quite a few years ago. That morning as I walked past a different neighbor’s house, one who no longer lives there, this is what I saw:
These people had once poured concrete over their entire front yard. Now they had cut down three gorgeous trees, and bored holes in the trunks rather than take out the stumps. What I felt at that time was more like despair than sadness. The stumps are still there and serve as a constant reminder to me of ways we disrespect the earth.
Whenever I find myself in judgment, like I am now, I believe it is important for me to look at how I have done the same thing as what I am judging in others. I didn’t have to think hard about that one. It is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.
When I was a child in the 1950’s, I had a butterfly collection. I would catch the butterflies, and very carefully kill them using some kind of drops. Then I would mount them on a board. My display was so beautiful.
I know that was a different era and most people would never have thought twice about making the display back then. I also realize my butterfly collection showed that even as a child I had a appreciation of the beauty of nature. But it is still hard to accept the reality that I once killed creatures who were so glorious.
It is even more uncomfortable for me to think about it now because butterflies are disappearing from the earth at an alarming rate. It has been many years since I’ve seen a Monarch butterfly and I haven’t seen a butterfly of any kind this year. But that is a subject for a future post.
(The butterfly and sad face photos are courtesy of Wikimedia.)