Life Tips From Trees

Life Tips From Trees

A listener's lesson in the wilderness.

As long as I cannot speak the language of the trees, I will have to listen to their wisdom in other ways. Believe me, I wish that I housed interstellar brain waves that could connect my humanness to the majesty of the woods and all of its creatures. However, the closest thing I can do right now is escape the city for a few days, maximize my tree intake, and be receptive to anything that happens. This past week’s dose of society’s approved nature dwelling has reminded me of two extremely relevant life tips from the trees.

Don’t assume that everything will work out; make sure it will.

My girlfriend and I set up our tent only to realize that we forgot the rain cover. Normally, this would cause me immediate stress, and I would release a bit of frustration in the sound of an “Ugh!” Then, I would get over myself and figure something out. I would have finagled some sort of a hammock-rain guard combination so that we would be able to create a barrier between us and the elements. However, my rare immersion into a beautiful state park left me in an alternative lax state.

Fast forward to the next morning, and I am awoken by unforgiving sheets of rain. Lots of rain poured, and to be clear, it was not the kind of rain that finds its way into a Nicholas Sparks movie. It was harsh and cold, the way people describe the “real world.” For a split second, a narrow sight took over and I cursed at the rain for simply being. After the campsite was packed into the car for our way home, it became clear to me the message present. The wilderness reminded me of my own faults. I had the resources to provide my own shelter, and I relied on the world to pan out for me.

Don’t rush your path.

We are chugging through the most difficult trail the state park has to offer, a six-mile loop that engages hikers in stunning views and a few mosquito bites along the way. The overlook is gorgeous. The flowing folds of rock make for an awe factor of ancient sculpture, and I soak in the beauty. Quickly after this climactic moment, I notice my stomach is rumbling, and I yearn to dive into some sort of sandwich situation as soon as possible. Instead of pacing ourselves for a hike back mirroring exactly the same distance as the climb up, we book it.

In a testament to my poor health, my breath begins to sting my lungs by mile five, and I ignore my body’s “slow down” signs. I continue the pace of my much fitter girlfriend and hope to transport into a land of food and nap time. I think of my hunger, and I start to quicken my stride. Suddenly, a thump! My ankle performs an impressive backwards twist into a plank-style dirt dive. My fall surprises me, my twisted ankle hurts, and I cry a little. It took some limping to discover that my fall was inevitable. I was so focused on my end goal that I wasn’t paying attention to the very real, challenging path that lay ahead of me. I underestimated the trees, and I needed that root to grab on to my shoe lace.

Maybe these are signs from nature, maybe I am a complicated klutz who overthinks everything. Either way, I consider the woods to be a sacred place, so I take in these events with hope for personal growth. Not everybody plans their next day off work to accompany s’mores and squirrels in a campground. Say the city is your temple, listen to the sounds of the streets. Others use the internet to navigate through facing personal challenges, hopefully this article is helpful. For some, their own body becomes a vessel of intuition, know what your gut is saying. No matter the medium, the importance of an effectively sent message lies in the quality of the receiver, you. Listen closely.

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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