Tangle of trees

April 25, 2015

We had a lots of big snowstorms this winters, some of which included a lot of wind, and then this spring it we’ve had some very windy days (and nights).  So it’s not surprising that a lot of trees have come down in the various patches of woods I walk through on various routes that I take when I walk, but today, by the Res, I noticed this huge bunch of tree trunks and upper branches and maybe some vines all in a tangle on the ground — it was striking.

I worry that the older trees that fall are not being replaced adequately by new trees, that the underbrush is cleaned out too thoroughly by the town or by “Friends of …” groups.  So when I see a bunch of fallen trees, I wonder how they will be replaced.

Despite the sight of the trees, I got a helpful way of re-framing a situation that has been bothering me for some weeks now, shortly after I passed the tangle.  I was comparing how another difficult situation had recently worked out more easily than I had expected, and how in the time before it had, I had had less trouble “turning it over” after we did all the tasks that were ours to do.  In the earlier situation, I knew I had no control over the rest of the process and I also knew that there was nothing more I could actually do once we filled out the paperwork and sent it in.  In the current situation, what I’m supposed to do is less clear, and whether there’s more I could do is less clear — so there’s more room for me to wonder if by act or omission I am messing something up and making it less likely the result I hope for will occur.  I was trying to figure out what “turning it over” looks like in such a context.  And it came to me that the universe can take whatever it is I do and find a way to get from there to wherever it serves for us to go, and that in the meantime I can just be kind of curious about what will happen, how that will look and play out, and not worry so much about my contribution.  Because for me a big ongoing challenge is to do what’s mine to do and then get out of the way so that those other forces have room to work and so that the other people involved in the situation have room to do what’s theirs to do.

Of course, none of this means things will turn out in this second situation as I would like, but since it will probably go on for months before it is resolved, I needed a better way of thinking about it — a way of being able to lay that burden down or at least carry it more comfortably.


5 Responses to “Tangle of trees”

  1. Jeff in NJ Says:

    Wrong conclusions or ideas, Diana. You are abdicating responsibility for complex issues with the idea of “Faith” that the mysterious powers of the Universe will set things right in the end — a species of fatalism.

    Do remember that the mysterious powers of the Universe have given us not only earthquakes that kill thousands, but also Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and all their works.

    Recently, I have been reading a book, “The World Must Know,” about the extermination camps. So highly organized and so efficiently run they actually showed a financial profit ! (gold teeth, jewelry, and even tons of women’s hair shorn to make rope or stuff mattresses).

    The Wansee Conference of 1941, where Reinhard Heydrich presided over the planning, was composed of high-ability Germans, many of whom had doctoral degrees. Of Hitler’s subordinates, Heydrich himself was probably the most brilliant and most dangerous. The British knew this and assassinated him, just as we assassinated General Yamamoto with a surprise air attack. He was an especially dangerous enemy not only for his ability but because he had studied at Harvard and understood American ways of thinking.

    Never rely upon blind faith, whatever kind it is. Even after liberation, the concentration camp inmates were so passive and demoralized they had no initiative and could not effectively participate in recovery efforts.

    If you are faced with a complex situation, stay in touch with all aspects to be confident that your mental “intelligence report” is up to date and alert to change. Communicate regularly (without being a pest) so that those in charge of affairs will know you are closely observing.

    In his famous work, “The Prince,” Niccolo Machiaveli has a chapter, “What fortune can effect in human affairs, and how to withstand her.” He gives only one example: building dikes to avert or safely channel a flood.

    The real point here is that there will either be a flood or there will not, and the dikes will suit either case.

    How do you see situations and alternatives like that ? You LOOK FOR THEM !

    • Diana Moses Says:

      I don’t think I’ve said that faith promises us what we want or a happy outcome. The reliance I have in mind is not passivity in the sense of doing nothing, it’s reliance on guidance to know what to do and what not to do. Using only free will and trying to muscle a way to a desired out come, it seems to me, can make a situation worse, or, result in the desired result but at an indefensible cost to someone else — at least that’s how I see it. In the best of all possible worlds, faith gets us all on the same page, which is not your page or my page or his page or her page but the page that serves the greatest good, and once we’re all on the same page, there is less friction. If somebody has passed me a counterfeit coin as change, I don’t have to pass it along to the next person.

    • Matthew Brooks Says:

      “Is and isn’t produce one another”

      >it is optimal among all possible worlds.


      Seeing and feeling (faith) are not mutually exclusive.

      >The supreme task of the physicist is the discovery of the most general elementary laws from which the world-picture can be deduced logically. But there is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance, and this Einfühlung [literally, empathy or ‘feeling one’s way in’] is developed by experience.


      Mental awareness is necessary too, including admitting that the path of least resistance involves the occasional catastrophe, dikes or not.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        If I’m following you correctly, I think I agree, especially the acceptance of the “occasional catastrophe” — old wrinkles to be smoothed out

  2. Jeff in NJ Says:

    I agree, Diana, that “using Free Will and trying to muscle a way to a desired outcome” can make situations worse. Free Will decisions work best when you have the fullest knowledge of factors affecting your situation or interest. That is what I was advocating. As one man once put it, “success is using the forces around you.” Of course he meant material forces, but in human affairs, spiritual subtleties ought not to be excluded.

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