Knowing yourself is the greatest gift, and appreciating what is on the outside as a result, is the second best gift. Shhhh… listen to the guiet and you will know.
There was once a woodsman who was so into his trees for their monetary value, that all he saw were the profits he could make by chopping them down and selling them to market. He worked in all kinds of weather, from early morning until the moon lit his way back home.
Day after day he worked. His hands became gnarled and rough, and his body became twisted and bent from the physical labor. He paid no attention to the pain because all of his focus was on the money waiting for him at the lumber yard.
He ignored what was going on around him. He missed the fresh smell of the pine and the scent of the cedar. He missed the dance of the leaves as they twirled and swooped to the wind’s music when summer turned to fall.
As winter passed and the cold gave way to light spring breezes and new fresh leaves on the trees, a young girl decided to take a walk. So as not to lose her way, she tied pink bows on the branches to be her guide for her walk back home.
She loved the woods, and often would take walks to give herself to her thoughts while she sat on a log to sit quiet and listen. It was in the woods she felt most at peace. There were no loud noises of the city, the hustle of crowds, and the smells of factories and the muddiness of air pollution. The woods awakened her senses and her heart. She could feel the sweet rustle of the wind, and smell the freshness of the air.
As she walked along a path, she began to notice the absence of trees and the cruelty that was given. The land was raped; her beautiful trees stolen from the earth. Panic gripped her as she continued to walk the path of destruction.
At the end of her trail there was an old man, bent and in pain. She raced to his side. He lay on a bed of needles, sweat running down his brow. “Help me”, he cried as she bent down and offered him some water. After wiping his face, she promised to bring help.
Several months had passed. The young woman again went walking in the woods. As she walked she saw her pink bows from her last walk and wondered about the old, crumpled man she had helped. Not far from where she rested, she heard a sweet song. She followed its tone, and there, sitting on an old stump, sat the man.
“Hello Sir. Do you remember me? I am the one who found you in these woods and got you rescue.”
He stopped his singing and with joy in his eyes saw her. “Of course. How could I forget? You saved my life in more ways than you know. After they had come and taken me away, my body healed. I had no choice but to stop and listen to what was around me, but most importantly, I began to listen to what is inside of me. For the first time, I began to know who I really am. I came back here hoping to find you, and thank you. I followed your bows to this spot. Without them I would not know where you would be.”
“Sir, I did nothing. It’s you who did the work. I only found you, and it’s you who found yourself.”