One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that makes it beautiful.                 Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

25 Febrero 2010. Journal entry

I wonder what a Joshua tree looks like, and suddenly I want it on my body. Somewhere to remind me of the struggle, to remind me that I must walk through it to be beautiful. Maybe after the PC. Sitting there, in the chair watching the artist etch it into my skin. I have never wanted a symbol on me, never wanted to have a needle filled with ink touch my body. Now, suddenly, symbols are becoming incredibly dear to me. The turtle, tortoise, who carries the world on her back. The tree. Every tree or picture of trees that I see causes my heart to ache. Symbols unleash a strong emotion in, maybe, all of us. Who was it, Jung? That says that there are universal symbols that we all identify with? Archetypes. I long for my dreams to come alive with symbolism. To read the Bible and see beautiful poetry and allegory, and archetypes. Like Sue Monk Kidd, I think I will fill the crevices of my life with the symbolic. Like Frida Kahlo and her colors, I will paint the insides of my soul with vibrancy. The loving mother, the beauty of pain, the community of the world, holding hands and singing songs of peace.

It’s etched in me already, this life that I want to live. These colors that imbue my world with meaning. These people, and the traces of their face and the kindness of their wrinkles. For we are all kind, in our attempts to calm the baby and make lunch for dozen and offer up our chair. We plant flowers and send cards and give hugs. Our eyes crinkle when we see someone we love. Our hand reaches out to smooth a hair or rub a back after we watch the struggling breath of a friend in pain. It’s the little efforts that make up our kindness, the small gestures that move me to tears. If we were so mindful to pay attention to the small acts of kindness, the gentility of humankind, perhaps, the, those acts would grow into wings of peace. And as the harsh wind blows on our back and we are bent into misshapen trees filled with gnarled and bent branches, we will remember that kind hands planted our roots and that singing birds will nest in our branches.

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