Trimming the Old to Nourish the New


Looking out the window I see all the debris in the yard still needing to be picked up. It’s pretty much an entire tree’s worth of limbs from two trees down in the yard. Half a tree down plus all the further most limbs of the really old tree. It is as if the older one self trimmed itself of all the old limbs up top. There is definitely a lesson there to be had.

I drink my hot tea, sipping it slowly as it will burn my pouch otherwise and look outside, thinking about my own ‘old limbs’. Do I remember what they were or did the brain injury cause them to break off and fall away to become mulch? Or is that my own ‘old limbs’ are becoming the mulch which is nourishing all the new growth which has happened?

The sun breaks through the clouds blinding my eyesight. For a moment all I can see is the leftover shadows of the trees pointing towards the sky. When my vision clears I see the trees clearly with their fresh scars from the limbs ripped off by the ice storm and wind. My sight roams over each tree seeing the wildlife which has finally returned to play in the trees.

There is something about those fresh scars which excite me, unsettle me and make me think more about this idea of the old breaking off to become mulch to feed the new growth. This has happened inside me, yet it is also on the outside. New scars from pre cancerous lesions removed, old scars, new teeth which help the droop to not look so severe all these combine to be this creature called Bree. All of these things and more I have worked to accept. This is the me in this moment who I accept, love and cherish now. Some scars are deep inside me where they cannot be seen yet make themselves known constantly. But now it is also okay to feel them, like a familiar ache inside.

I used to hate that reminder. I hated that ache as it reminded me of bad moments which had been out of my control. Now, however it reminds me of my inner strength, the resolve I have come to understand is at the depth of who I am, this resolve to live no matter the circumstances. Each twinge is a reminder to say to myself; “My past has created the me I am right now and she is surviving wonderfully well.”

(Also published on


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