• Susan Klinger, Artist

Tree of Inspiration

This post is a bit different. It is personal, but I needed to tell it...


For several years I began walking my neighborhood for exercise and to help clear my head. If you have followed my blog in the past, or for those who know me personally, my path over the past quite a few years has been bumpy. Without rehashing a lot of medical stuff that is not relevant to this writing, my husband suffered a myriad of medical issues over a period of about 8 years prior to his passing. It seemed every time we thought we were over the hump; a new issue would present. My walks were a brief escape to process what was happening, to allow my brain to just focus on putting one foot in front of the other – a type of mindful meditation.



Each day I would follow a similar path and as I neared the end of my walk, I would pass this tree. It was not a huge tree but seemed sturdy. At some point, as a smaller sapling, someone secured the tree in position with a wire to provide support, adding green tubing to protect the bark. I suppose over the years, they forgot about it. As years passed, the tree must have started to grow around its wire support. Over time, the tree completely enveloped the wire and continued to grow strong. Eventually, someone must have cut the rest of the wire free, leaving only what I was now seeing – a section of the wire, green tubing included, completely surrounded by the tree which had grown around it.

What does this have to do with me? Each day on my walks, when I passed this little tree, I found inspiration. To keep going. The tree had been weak at some point. Someone who cared, helped to hold it in place until it was able to become strong on its own. I saw this tree as a metaphor for me. I was struggling with the fear & sadness of my husband’s failing health. I needed support. The tree eventually became strong and prospered, yet the scar remained. I gained strength each time I passed this tree. I even photographed it on multiple occasions, to serve as a reminder and knowing that at some point I would write about it. I knew my circumstances were going to leave a permanent scar, but that I was a strong woman and eventually I would grow beyond the restraints of what I was experiencing at the time. Every day, I would pass this tree and know that one day I too would grow & become strong again.

I began this writing in my head many times after my husband passed, still passing the tree on my walks. But I wasn’t ready to put the words together to tell my story. I had not yet grown strong enough. Then the other week, after the many snowstorms of this winter, I finally got out to walk again. I was saddened to see my little tree had been cut down. That too was a sign. I realized I no longer needed that little tree to give me strength. I had grown past my support, I had become strong on my own. I will always have the scar left by my experience, but I will prosper.

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