‘Daddy they’re going to fall on us! They’re falling!’ I was frantic to get off his shoulders clawing and screaming my way down his back. I was surprised he didn’t just let me fall because I know I pulled on his beard and long hair. The gentle giant of a man allowed me to become frantic. I felt the sensation of emotions of the impending life learning lesson I was about received without knowing. He was able to catch me before I went running off into the woods and calmed me down.
You see, it was a treat to go the park with my dad. He was always gone working in oil fields and on offshore rigs so our time was precious. On this particular day, he asked if I wanted to walk on the trail through the woods. I agreed with childish enthusiasm to go into what I believed to be magical where dwarves could be dwelling and fairies playing. I was on his shoulders and we entered the woods.
He showed me sparkling creeks, red clay mud, and wild honeysuckles like we have growing in our backyard. The path was worn but I knew that my father wouldn’t get lost. I could see everything from my top of the world-view and felt so safe and powerful until I looked up. The towering Loblolly Pines were swaying but I didn’t feel any wind. From my little point of view, it looked like they were going to snap and land right on top of us.
When I was done scaling down my dad and in his arms for comfort he told me, ‘Oh my little Jo. Hush now. Those trees have been around since before I was born. Their roots hold strong. They may be pushed around by the wind from time to time but they are strong enough to make it through any storm. They are grounded in the earth by their roots. They can’t hide when they’re scared or run from something that could happen again. Jo, look up.’ I sniffled letting my hands loosen up just enough to look past him to the sky and could see the trees slowly swaying. ‘Jo, take the silent advice from these pines. When you’re faced with something that’s scary or new keep calm and think. Don’t give up or give in. Your roots will keep you grounded to make the right decisions.’
I still try to be like those pines that once scared me. His advice has gotten me through so much in my life. Even when it was time to spread my father’s ashes on a lake with pines above us, I heard his words. Having C-PTSD, I first thought of myself as weak not being able to calm down or ground myself. The fact that I reached out for help is still following my father’s advice.
I can still remember the feeling of tugging on his beard like a rope to get down. This is a response to Discover’s Prompt Frantic.