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𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓'𝐒 𝐀𝐓 π˜πŽπ”π‘ π‘πŽπŽπ“?

Updated: Mar 25

I've been accused by some recently as being "insensitive". In some eyes, this may be true. My hope however, is to show that what may be insensitive, is meant as words of empowerment.


𝑇𝐻𝐸 𝑇𝐴𝑀𝐴𝑅𝐴𝐾... As a young boy of age 5-ish, my father told me a story from moons before I was born. He was a fire-fighter in Montana, fighting forest fires around Hungry Horse Reservoir, near his home in Kallispell, MT when he was 18-ish. He was fighting a rather intense fire, cutting trees to make a fire-break to keep the fire at bay and to keep it from ruining the entire forest nearby. As he was going along, he came across a lone Tamarak Tree. As he prepared to get to cutting, he noticed something odd about this one tree. You see, instead of going straight up as Tamaraks do (being some of the tallest evergreens in the world), this one had twists and turns and looked like quite odd.

As he looked at it he could see not one, not two, not three... but four times where this tree had been scorched by lightning, had its top blown off and yet somehow, using its one remaining limb, managed to curve it upward and reach for the sky... each time to get hit again and each time refusing to die, rather to keep on stretching heavenward.

I was about 7 when my grandfather died and my father took me to Montana for his funeral. While we were there, he took me to Hungry Horse Reservoir and showed me this tree he had spared so many years before. It was probably 10-12 years since that devastating fire, and yet there it stood, crooked and almost an eyesore among the younger, healthier trees. You could see the scars and the bits missing from its side that told the story of nature's numerous attempts to knock it down... but there she stood... maybe not pretty, but defiant and unwilling to yield to the history she had endured.


I don't know if she still stands tall and proud; but what I do know is this... YOU... yes 𝒀𝑢𝑼 reading this... you WILL SURVIVE! You will hurt with each strike, you may even bear scars in the weeks, months, years to come... but you can do this.


Our time is a challenging time. My comments to "Suck it up Buttercup" were not to negate or cause pain... they were words I tell myself... they were words that I hoped would inspire and deep within repeat in your own mind and heart as you weigh the unfolding events.

Anyone who knows anything about forest fires and lightning strikes on trees, knows it's almost a guaranteed death sentence. I witnessed in my mid 20's how the fires in Yellowstone had nearly wiped out all of the trees in and around that area years before.

But a few.... just a handful... refused to give up. They didn't do it with a conscientious choice like you and I have the ability to do... they just did it... they planted their roots and sucked it up. Gathering nutrient from the soil and earth around them, they became stronger and rebuilt the beauty that is now and always was Yellowstone's Forrest. Hungry Horse Reservoir is one of the most beautiful and majestic places to visit and witness... it's pure clear waters, the dam my grandfather helped build after the Great Depression and WWII.


Please, if you feel I'm insensitive, ask yourself... is it insensitive to use words that strike you to your core that challenge you to be more tomorrow then you were yesterday or today? Perhaps... but know this... insensitive or not. I will be here today when you're beautiful and I will look forward to the day when you are 𝑴𝑨𝑱𝑬𝑺𝑻𝑰π‘ͺ, scars and ALL!!

{photo courtesy of Justin D Kauffman}


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