Letting Go – Part II


IMG_7809Standing on a ledge in Bryce Canyon in Utah, it was not immediately obvious that “letting go” was the appropriate metaphor for this slender pine tree clinging tenaciously to an eroding soil bed. Indeed, it might seem that this lonesome sapling is a vestige of an arboreal species in an ecosystem long gone.  

But from another perspective, it strikes me as the perfect metaphor for letting go of outmoded and dysfunctional strategies for coping. It is so easy to just keep doing things the way we have always done them, even when they no longer work very well.  

That would certainly be the case for many of the trees in Bryce.  If the tree in the photo to the right had clung to the familiar notion that a tree should have its roots below ground and its base firmly attached to the soil, it would have disappeared down into the ravine years ago.  

But here we have a tree that has “learned” a new way of doing things.  It still has a trunk and relies on a root system that reaches into the ground and sends nutrients up the core to its branches.  But its roots are exceptionally strong and hardy enough to do double duty, both feeding the tree and holding it up.

I will try to remember my tree the next time I am struggling with something that just isn’t working.  Slow down.  Take a deep breath.  And look for another way.



  1. It breathes-it keeps its tenuous hold-it survives.

  2. Love this, Mary. “Slow down. Take a deep breath. Look for another way.” But, don’t give up!

    • Carol … thanks … Those are good words … the challenge is distinguishing between what is “looking for another way” and what is “giving up.” My mother and I often had very different opinions on which was which!

  3. jim urban says

    Take a stand…stand up to adversity.

  4. Great metaphor and what a beautiful setting for taking it in. Thanks for sharing Mary.

    • Thanks Grace … Bryce is a gorgeous place … metaphors abound. I hope to get a few more from there.

  5. Perfect illustration of the idea of struggle leading to solutions! The air can get pretty thin up there, so make sure you get a few good deep ones before leaping.

    • Something like “necessity is the mother of invention.” Seems awfully trite, but it can be quite moving in the right circumstances!

  6. Phyllis Goodman says

    or…wrong plant, wrong place