I Am a Tree
By Rachel E. Watson

I am a cat, graceful and fluid.
I am a cow, sagging and old.
I am a dog, facing the ground,
hinged in the middle, hung by my limbs.

I am a cobra, cunning and low.
I am a gumby, dangling and free.
I am a cross, I am a prayer, 
I am a swan, diving with flare.

I am a monkey, with a flat back.
I am a gumby, rinse and repeat.
I am unleashing my animal heat.
I am a warrior sparing the room 
my judgment, my glance, 
and my weapon of choice:
the seething sound of my voice.

I am a triangle, tinkling with sweat,
I am a pyramid, poised and pointed.
I am a half-moon dancer, 
held up by toenails 
pinned to the sky.

I am a tree, strong and tall, 
quivering with life, passion
and not quite ready to fall.

I am a dancer, a sideways prancer.
I am a monolith, an unmovable mountain.
I am sinking to the floor, 
rooted by my sit bones,
resting on the ground.

I am a pretzel,
bending and twisting,
releasing all tension.

I am a corpse. 
I am asleep. 
I am at peace.

Rachel E. Watson © 2015.

It's no secret I've been going through a hard time lately. I've blogged about anxiety, depression and mood disorder symptoms, and I've taken blogging breaks here and there to replenish my reserves.

What exactly was I doing during those breaks?

Well, as I mentioned in a July 15 post, one of the main things I was doing was listening to music. Not just any music, but specific types that I knew would do my brain good. I named four of them in the July 15 blog post.

Here are three more:

1. Classical music. On my Pandora station, I've been listening to Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Sergey Rachmaninov and Claude Debussy. In my car, I listen to Johannes Brahms and a mix of Romantic period composers from a CD I got as a graduation gift from a family friend a long time ago.

Here's my favorite Bach piece:

2. Bards. Singer-songwriters or bands with lyrics that grab hold of my brain and shake all the lies out. That's what good songwriters do. I'm thinking of Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, Brandi Carlile, The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons and Ryan Montbleau.

Here's a Ryan Montbleau song, for those of you who haven't heard his songwriting:

3. Soundtracks. I kid you not, one of the best ways to rise up from a low point is through singing or humming along with Disney soundtracks or other animated film songs. Fantasia is basically all classical music. The Aladdin soundtrack is compulsively singable. And my favorite ... of all time .. is the Anastasia soundtrack, with hits like "Once Upon a December," "Learn to Do It," and "In the Dark of the Night."

Here's the album's first track, "A Rumor in St. Petersburg":

Read more of my blog posts about music here.

The other day, I was minding my own business filling out paperwork in our backyard under a large maple tree. And nutshells rained down on me.

"It must have been a windy day," you might say. It was completely calm.

Not only that, but I was sitting under a maple. If you know your trees, you know maples do not produce nuts.

About 30 shells fell on my head, my shoulders and my lap, but none beyond the quilt rectangle on which I sat. I was suspicious.

So I looked up and saw a gleeful little squirrel perched far above me in the solid upper branches of the maple.

Here is where I sat when the squirrel started chucking nutshells at me

As soon as I looked at him, he looked straight into my eye and chucked another nutshell onto my head.

I couldn't help laughing, even though my shirt was dotted with sticky, half-chewed nut goo.

Later that day, I returned to the memory of the nut-chucking squirrel. Something shifted in my brain.

I've been tempted to view God like He's a squirrel in a maple tree, chucking problems my way.

First depression, then anxiety, then a mood disorder. Treatment. Meds. Avoidance of substances that interact with the meds.

Is any of that God's fault? If I really believe, like I so boldly and publicly declared a few weeks ago on this blog, that God is the Triune Creator of the Universe, why do I fall back on a belief that He is out to get me?

Doesn't it stand to reason He loves me, one of His children, created in His image?

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

What if I start looking at those nuts being chucked my way as opportunities for growth? As a rain of  blessings?

What if each nutshell is an opportunity to help others who are suffering like I am?

[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Looking at the nutshells from that perspective totally brightened my mind that day, and I'm still feeling it.

What about you? How do you view the nutshells of life? What are the problems thrown your way? What are the resulting opportunities for you to bless others?