By Wanie Reeverts, written as a part of Debby Gaines' Community-Based Writing class.
An image of strength and longevity, the oak tree breathes a spirit of
ruggedness and grit, standing firm against extreme weather thrown
in its direction. The roots mirror the branches stretching far below ground as
the branches above. In a mixed forest of trees with bare limbs, the oak’s
summer foliage may still be clinging to its boughs as Christmas approaches.
Sometimes, life is like a fall storm, whipping branches and flinging the leaves
of our concentration and contentment to the four winds. Standing firm like
the oak with its family of fir, elm and ash on our campus, we women grow beyond
the trunk of our past, giving birth to new shoots brushing the sky. Often
the druids danced beneath oak trees for ritual and revered the virtues that come
with years of experience, dividing feminine energy into three phases: maiden,
mother, and crone. Our foremothers and forefathers respected each phase and
relied upon their wisdom and guidance. Naturally inclusive, sharing our roots
with others, we ask for encouragement, when we need it, ready to give the same
to those who come to us.
A member since 1979, a hesitant young mother, struggling with issues of
unresolved grief and shame, I began sharing my feelings with the staff and
members in art classes, workshops and retreats. Feeling safe and understood,
I learned a valuable lesson about trustworthiness. Invited into Womanspace
roots, I knew I’d found a grove of like-minded oaks. Days and years like columns
of trees, I credit the co-founders for instilling the courage to leave guilt and
shame behind, stoking the fires of my creativity through watercolor and poetry.
Exploring and sharing my roots in the community based writing class,
facilitated by Debby Gaines for the past two years, I’ve learned to “lighten up”
and “play,” letting my writing juices flow. Reclaiming the crone within myself,
I’ve traded unforgiveness for blossoms of love, writing poetry that honors my
Encircled by women, we have fun in writing class, listening to each other’s
stories and hearing the sound of our voices. A gigantic heart, Debby encourages
us to write at a deep level inspired by her prompts. Treating each other with
respect, we fan the flame of new ideas, reminding ourselves that the only failure
is not trying.
Recently, a young writer took the risk and talked to me about her struggle with
doubt. Willing to share wisdom I’ve gleaned at Womanspace, I shared my
journey—one of recovery, discovery and empowerment.
By sharing our roots of compassion and support like a family of trees,
we women create a place where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts;
inspire each other to blossom into our potential for wisdom, beauty and service