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15 Oct, 2012 | by
Your Story: Customer Submissions

Underbrush ImageI find myself back in the woods – the park. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been here. Fall, when the beauty of the golden yellow, the reds and oranges were in their full glory. They have long since passed. Replaced by pale grey, steel blue, and cool white of early winter, all now fresh in my mind, I walk the path that I’ve walked so many times before.

But, there is something different this time. It has been awhile. There are tire tracks everywhere, zigzagging across the hills. Where has the underbrush, the saplings, the thicket, the safety for the small and timid all gone? Something is definitely different. I walk along the winding path, up and down. Fresh mud and tracks are all over. What could the caretaker have been thinking? Has he gone mad? I feel anger and sadness rising. It seems so vast, so open, so unprotected, so exposed. It hasn’t been that long. Surely, I haven’t forgotten what it looked like. It was mine. I knew it as if it were my own. This is not what I remembered.

Stopping at the top of the hill, I slowly turn to look down. It’s gone…the underbrush of the forest is gone… I bend down. I touch the ground. It’s gone… as far as I can see, simply gone… reduced to mulch, torn and shredded by a tractor and bush hog. The memories of farm life, so distant in my past, now rise in my mind. I can’t seem to settle on a feeling. A hundred adjectives dance in my head, alighting on all and none at the same time.

I turn and continue along the path hoping and dreading what I may find ahead of me. So far, safety is in my heart. I continue into and through the woods, deeper and deeper to find my boulder, my rock, salvation. A refuge where I write, I sit and feel the familiar coolness under me. It’s here that I deliberate and think and heal my soul. It’s untouched so deep in the forest. Now, I’m left to ponder what has happened. I contemplate the correlation of my life and the life of this magnificent forest.  It is a part of me now.  These woods so full of underbrush, thickets, and brambles, a sanctuary so alive, now changed, changed forever.

I look around now from my rock, my throne and see that he did not remove the underbrush from here. Familiarity, warming and comfortable to me on this cool early winter’s day, I sit here running over in my head everything that has happened. I think about and realize that what appeared to be a chaotic raping of the forest – my forest, my solace – was necessary.

I notice now, as I wonder over this horror in my mind, that the overseer has left saplings dotting the land. Some are rather large, some are small. I had never noticed them before. They could not be seen because of the undergrowth. Again, I reflect on my life, a life so full of undergrowth that I can’t see what is growing there either. Hmmm, the trees, the anchors of the forest, the saplings, and the new seeds that grow, these are the anchors of my mind.

The overseer did know what he was doing. By allowing more light, air, and water in, to penetrate the chaos of this tangled jungle, he was tending the forest to make way for it to thrive and be renewed. By allowing it to grow, he gave back to it, its sustainability, its gift to give back of itself to the many that come here … to “My Forest.”

What I saw as pain and agony just hours ago had been changed to glory and rejoicing. For now I see and understand that in clearing my own undergrowth, I will thrive and continue to grow unencumbered by the brambles and thickets in my own life. My forest will continue to rejuvenate and renew. I take on not only the role of the caretaker, but of the forest itself, clearing, growing and giving… living.

3 Comments /Add your own

About the Author

Justin Hayden

Justin is the store manager and smiling face of Inner Path. Justin Hayden is a teacher, mentor and guide. He uses his intuitive gifts to assist those who are searching for growth and understanding in their live. “I am a great believer of love and laughter and in seeking the lessons to be learned from our past, present and future that can assist us in living our NOW.”

3 Responses to Underbrush

  1. Geri Bell:

    November 9, 2012 at 1:11 am


    To borrow words from my 15 year old grandson, “You are awsome fierce”

  2. Josephine:

    December 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you! I felt as though I were walking right beside you and feeling the same things. You are a beautiful Light in this world. Thank you for shining on so many. I love your story and YOU! <3

  3. Kathleen:

    December 31, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Blessed to have stumbled upon this article. I was very touched by the themes of surrender and acceptance, and of hope. Spiritual pruning can leave us vulnerable and exposed; this spoke of rebirth and anticipation. Thank you.


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