Friday, October 13, 2017


photos by Bill Slavin

What are you doing to cope with the large amount of stress created 
by the news of the last few weeks?

Each morning turning on the news brings up my stress levels. We are lucky so far, we are safe, but we know how in an instant life can change. Our backyard is our sanctuary where we can find some peace each day.

We planted redwoods as four-foot sticks in 1983 that now tower above us two or three times the height of our two-story house. We've had to cut down two of them. The arborist assured us that the trunks would die. We asked a tree sculptor to carve with a chainsaw a series of bears' heads into the trunks. One of the trunks died, but the other has continued to send out sprouts at the top and the sides of the trunk. We trim the sprouts so that the tree looks like it has a flat-top haircut. The bears' heads peek out from the ever-growing branches. Squirrels love to chew on the bears' paws, claws and foreheads. They keep their sharp teeth from growing too long that way. Blue jays hide food in the cavities around the bears' heads. The squirrels eagerly wait and take the food and bury it elsewhere.

This summer we noticed that the living tree is now growing inside the cavity where the bears' heads are carved out. The new growth is covering up the bears. Between the squirrels gnawing and the new growth of the tree, the bears will one day disappear. Nature, given a chance, takes back what we disturb. A small event in our backyard, but so true in the last few weeks across the country.

This is the same bear as the bear in the photo at the top.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jan. You should see how the tree is wrapping around them. Life changes.

  2. Love love your sanctuary. Now I feel at peace just reading your beautiful writing. ❤️

    1. Thank you, Shiera, for reading my post especially since you are having some wonderful adventures. Our backyard is a sanctuary!

  3. Comforting insights for trying times, Martha. And Bill's photos are fantastic! When nature takes back your bears you will still have these beautiful words and images.

    1. Thank you, Teresa. What a good thought about the written word as a memory.


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