If a tree (or a person) falls in the forest and no one is around to hear, will it make a sound? A philosopher, George Berkley, has posed this question about a tree for a long time but what if it is a person and they are not heard, will they survive? This is more than a physical happening - it is a metaphor of life journeys. Let’s take an inside look as the pages turn in our storybook of life. Was help available - or did it force us to make our own way out of the forest?
My stories began when I was 3 years old. Our family was selling everything on our farm so we could drive, unfettered, across the country to a new life. I was so attached to my doll’s baby buggy that I hid in the lilac bushes with my precious possession. I was found and they ‘heard my agony’ but it still had to be sold in the auction. We only had room for a few clothes. Another profound story came years later after a marriage of abuse and bankruptcy. I was in a thick forest of despair and asked my parents for financial help. They said they weren’t in a position to help without risking their own security. I was on my own but I did ‘survive’. It forced me to grow and become a better person.
Many years have gone by since those pages in my storybook and I have never asked for help again. Now the ‘fall in the forest’ has taken another turn in the pages of my book. My husband and I live on a small Island in an neighbourhood of 2 acre lots full of trees. We are the only ones to live there full-time, during the long dark nights of winter. I am often there alone and I walk my dog each night. I carry a cellphone and flashlight but we are have steep cliffs on 3 sides and I sometimes think - what if I fell and no one was around to hear me? Would I survive?
Well, one night when I was on my own, my dog was anxious to go out and I left the house without my usual caution. I did fall that night, knocked the wind of myself and in that short space of time, many thoughts arouse about the value of life - not being prepared and being alone. I finally picked myself up with only a sore bottom and a bruised ego. It was a a great message for me. We can’t rely on, or expect, someone else to ‘hear us’. We have to look after ourselves. Life is always a lesson of ongoing stories and my answer to “What if a tree falls in the forest” is: there is no answer to that, or to my question - would someone hear me? My advice is to pay attention, live with out fear, accept any challenges, and keep turning the pages of your storybooks with interest and anticipation.