AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE One Hundred Thirteen: Hand Holds…

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.



I may have touched on this a couple of times but bear with me, there is a need to bring it up again. And sometimes, when you think about things, it can start you down another road, a road you didn’t think about going down before.
So, buckle up.
Or put on your climbing gear. Whichever…

I used to climb trees when I was a kid. There were two trees in my front yard that I loved more than the others. There was our tree right in front of your house. It was a very large maple tree and when I wanted to feel safe and close to home, this was the one I wanted to climb. It was open with large limbs but the leaves weren’t very dense so you could see in all directions. You couldn’t hide in it.
Then there was a smaller maple that was next to the road. This one was very dense and you could climb it and once you had cleared the bottom branches, you disappeared. The inside felt like a cave. I had spent a lot of time clearing out very small branches and twigs to make it almost hollow inside the greenery. And it felt like more of my own space. It wasn’t just further away from the house, it felt like it was in its own universe. I would go up there when I felt I needed to get away or I was just feeling alone.

I went up there a lot.

But that’s not why I bring up climbing trees.

This is going to appear very obvious. Climbing trees are like life.

As we make our way up, we have to check that each hand or foothold will take our weight. We can’t trust life and limb on something that is too thin for our safety. We must proceed with caution and observe.
We might find a nice spot near the middle of the tree, a place we can sit comfortably for a while. We can feel the breeze and hear the birds sing. Maybe we decide this is where you want to be and you go no further.

Or you use the spot to take a break and then head up further. The higher you go, the limbs become thinner and more flexible, it causes you to go from the left or the right, back and forth. You have to decide when you can’t go any higher. If you do, you know the limb will break and you will fall. Will you fall all the way? It’s a possibility. Being a brave soul, you go as far as you can.

If you do fall all the way, it’s going to hurt, maybe badly. It might even change your mind about climbing that tree again and you decide to walk away. I see this ‘walking away’ as dying. Life is a tree we must never stop trying to climb. If you fall, you have to grab that first handhold that you started with the first time and heave yourself back into the tree.

I’m not the first to have come up with this visual. The Tree of Life is something that has been past down for many generations. It’s nothing new. But people have forgotten about it. We get so worked up with our own problems that we forget how simple it all is.

Life is climbing a tree.

This is my suggestion: Climb a large tree.

You know those redwood trees that they have in California? The ones they used for Endor in Return of the Jedi? I’d say you pick one of those. Not a small tree that’s easily climbed or uprooted. Pick a giant tree that’s scary high. And take your time. You’ll need some climbing gear to start. The limbs don’t start growing out of the trunk low to the ground. Kind of like childhood. We need help getting started on our own and require tools and safety belts and ropes.
Get to the limbs and make your way up, limb by limb. If you find you’re going a way that stops with no more handholds, you may need to go back down a bit and try a different route. On and on and up and up. Again, take your time.
As you ascend higher and higher, you learn which limbs are more trustworthy and steady just by looking at it, maybe by size or if it looks dead or not. If we rush, we may not notice where we are going and what kind of limbs we are getting to take our weight.

Go as high as you can. You might even need to take a chance with thinner limbs and branches to achieve a place we didn’t think we could acquire. What is life, a great life without some measured risk? And maybe you’ll find without more limbs to climb and you’re seeing above the tree. You might find yourself looking at the other trees and look out and above, to the sky above.

Or you might fall.

Again, what is a great life without some risks?

Life is a chance. It can be a good chance or a bad. But I believe it’s our only chance.

Climb your tree. Take your time. And watch where you put your hands and feet. Go as far as you can. And if you’re feeling spry, maybe a bit squirrely,  go a little further.
Take a chance. And hold on…

-Loyd Elmore
June 15th, 2018


I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.

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