During the past 18 months I have traveled over 80,000 miles. Some of my trips, whether overnight or several days long, took me into interesting and unique spaces.
My latest road trip found me on the backroads of Route 43. Miles and miles of pavement and trees. The view was beautiful but like all quiet country roads, the sounds and sites of nature pulled me deep into the recesses of my mind.
Somewhere along the way I noticed how the trees along the side of the road knew how to grow around the obstacles in their way. The branches of each tree that I noticed stretched and contorted themselves around wires, poles and other unidentifiable objects. As I marveled at the brilliance and intuitive knowledge of each tree I saw, I began to recall all of the trees and weeds that I have seen in my travels. Trees and weeds growing through concrete, wrapped around poles and growing around above ground wires.
I pulled over to get an up close look at one particular weeping willow that was growing in grand fashion around and above ground wires. As I leaned on my car looking and marveling at this tree, it occurred to me that a tree may perhaps be the perfect example of how a person should approach a challenging situation in life and perform the ebo of personal change required to build good character.
A tree does not yield or bow down. Nor does it give up and stop growing. It adjusts to the environment for its greater good. When we approach Orunmila with our problems and we are given the seemingly simple ebo of changing our character and/or perspective, many of us stop in our tracks, refuse to change or challenge the priest delivering a hard but necessary truth.
It is far easier to prepare or give a sacrifice outside of ourselves than it is to change the demons within. The question formed in my mind while looking at lady weeping willow was, “when your ancestors, Orisha, Mpungo, Lwa, etc. require the long hard ebo of attitude adjustment will I rise to the task like this tree or will I look for the quick fix of saying Oh well, this is just how I am?”, never attempting to make the necessary changes to bring balance and blessings into my life.
On the surface, it would seem to be an easy choice but when Esù holds up a mirror for you to view the imperfections and to honestly look at the miles you’ve traveled struggling under the weight of your own baggage making a character ebo is one of the steepest mountains to climb.
For me, the choice to take the road of the one thousand miles ebo seems like the best and most logical choice. Bending, yielding and growing around obstacles like a tree for my greater good.
It was the sound of another solo traveler that brought me back from the grove of trees I had been pondering. Several mosquito bites later, I felt a bit wiser and determined to learn more about the ways of trees.
Back in my car, still several hours from my home counting miles and marveling at the extraordinary found in nature.