Posted by: Heather Coleman | April 25, 2013

#HAWMC Day 22: Finding the Ordinary Extraordinary

Beautiful tree stumpWrite about something ordinary that’s inspiring to you, something simple, perhaps overlooked, that fuels your activism. What a great topic! It was suggested by Abigail Cashelle.

I think anything that inspires me, helps fuel my passions, one of which is sharing information and resources about postpartum psychosis and mental health with others. I find inspiration in so many things in the world around me, such as nature, art, poetry, quotes, humor, music, and certainly in other people. I really like to find inspiration in slightly imperfect things, seemingly “average” things, and especially things that others would pass by without taking notice. I enjoy going to antique shops and yard sales to find things that I can refurbish and love. And I love items that have been passed down from one generation to another.

If I had to pick just one thing that has truly provided inspiration to me throughout my life, I would pick something from nature, and that would have to be trees. I’ve had a fascination with trees since I was very young, maybe 5 years old, when I would climb them in my backyard. In my high school and college photography classes, I would often take pictures of large, old tree trunks and their wild, jagged roots. Even today if you go to my Pinterest profile, you’ll see an entire board dedicated to trees and on my photo walks on Flickr, even more trees.

To me trees represent life, strength, beauty, and wisdom. I love sitting on a blanket, in the shade of an old oak tree, and reading all afternoon. I love the warm, vibrant foliage that takes over my home state of Vermont each Fall. I love seeing the newly fallen snow glued to the stark tree branches in Winter. And I love the gorgeous sight and invigorating smell of the magnolia trees each Spring in Washington, D.C.

The Giving Tree book reportMy son is in first grade and has shown a significant improvement in his reading ability this school year. Recently we read, “The Giving Tree” together for the first time and he read me the entire book. Afterwards he drew a picture and captured what he read in a couple sentences. It says, “It is nice to give things to others and the tree was happy.”

I love seeing the world through his eyes. He always finds a way to express the world around him in the most simple, yet beautiful terms. His innocence is so refreshing to me, especially when it’s so easy to get jaded by human nature these days. Imagine how much more beautiful this world could be if we were all like the Giving Tree and found happiness in giving of ourselves, simply in the name of love. Now that would be extraordinary!

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