Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Yellow Leaf

This is the Mangrove Tree. I was recently in Key West, Florida, and I learned that this is the only plant that is indigenous to the area. Everything else was imported. The reason this tree was the lone life form prior to inhabitants of this lush, beautiful place, is because there is no fresh water source here. The only source of water (prior to the commercialization) was salt water. And this magical tree had a unique way of turning that salt water into fresh water: the yellow leaf. These designated leaves soak up all the salt water, allowing the rest of the tree to have fresh water. As the leaf gets saturated with salt, it turns yellow, then dies; and is replaced by another one. What an interesting concept.....

The plant kingdom isn't the only example of this type of sacrifice. Military, fireman, policeman, and many types of volunteers come to mind. It is a very special quality to be sacrificial. Jesus is the largest example of this very selfless act. And like any martyr, there are always people who do not appreciate it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


  • spread by opening the leaves of
  • cast off in scales, laminae, or splinters
  • remove the surface, in scales or laminae
  • come off in a very thin piece
  • grow by producing or unfolding leaves; "plants exfoliate"

  • In my ripe old age of 40 (I am still getting used to that), I have gotten a little carried away with this whole exfoliating process. I had my first "microderm" abrasion treatment last month. The technician told me that as we age-our skin doesn't turnover the dead flakes as quickly so it is important that we exfoliate. And I have been doing just that-senselessly and relentlessly.

    I have also found that there are some other areas of my life that could use some exfoliation. I suppose it is time I started thinking about what I am eating. In general, things that I crave are probably things I should not eat. I need to pay more attention to my caloric intake-and start eating the right foods. Ugh! As much as I exercise, there is no getting around this.

    I also carry around some dead layers in my professional life. I have to find a way to remove that layer and get a fresh perspective-either do something new, or get a new attitude about what I am currently doing and do a better job. The only way to grow here is to remove those pieces. There is probably some scar tissue there from previous failures in my career, but I need to brush that off just like a skin treatment.

    I have some friendships that have been exfoliated as well. Ever think someone is such a good friend and then it turns out that really wasn't the case? I have been on both sides of that lately. I let someone down who I thought was a great friend and in my search as to how I could do that, I realized she really wasn't a great friend. In fact, it was a very one sided relationship. I was always trying to gain her approval and acceptance, and she always kept me "at a distance" as she put it. She kept her guard up. I suppose on some level, I always knew that, and it really didn't feel that good. I noticed how I never got invited to anything with her, my calls/emails were always low on the priority list of being returned-if they ever were. I look back now and find that the only time I was even an option for her was if there wasn't a better one. And yet, I would have done anything for her. It is still every bit as sad that the friendship is a total loss. It does not make it better that I let her down, but it does make me see things a little clearer. People are not always what they seem.

    And in my home life, there are lots of layers. After all, 19 of my 40 years have been with this man-my spouse, my friend, my critic, my fan, my playmate, my lover, my soul mate, my confidant, my nemesis, my other half, my co-parent, my partner, my everything... In those many years, lots of things have built up-and it's time to start working at clearing those. Oh we have been here before, and we have worked very hard at it, so I know it can be done. But, just like my 40 year old skin, it doesn't just stay done. You have to keep doing it. That can be so hard-especially with all the other demands on us from outside places. And I know he just wants to throw up a white flag sometimes in fear that it will never be done. And he is right, it won't. There will always be layers to exfoliate. Some worse than others. But that is just the process of aging-in chronology and in relationships. Really, in everything. It's the only way to grow and move forward. Neither of us is the person we met in May of 1991. We won't be the same in 19 more years. But with the same level of effort-successes and failures, I want to believe we will still be together. I don't know where I am going with this actually, I just seem to be in the mode to clear away dead layers that make me feel old and ugly.