Lesley Irene Shore

Lesley Irene Shore

Survivor Tree

January 14, 2018

When we moved from Harmony Farm, I retired from my psychology practice along with other professional commitments. I opened my heart to new opportunities and interests.

After settling into my new home, I began roaming Fox Hill’s woods. While walking along a newly formed trail, my attention was drawn to a couple of special trees. One tree I immediately named “Survivor Tree” because of its amazing root formation.

Survivor Tree stands near the crest of a small hill and reaches majestically toward the sky. Its gnarled roots twist and turn; they rise from the ground, travel around and over large and small rocks, then bend into the hill before rising upward to form the trunk. Its roots tell the story of a young sapling struggling to survive: growing around and over immovable obstacles blocking its path, then finally establishing enough of a base to support upward growth.

On daily walks through the woods, I developed the habit of greeting my special trees by name. Inspired by their presences, I touched them, walked around them and communed with them. I offered thanks for their gifts—of oxygen, shelter, shade, food. And I sang songs of gratitude for their lessons.

One season moved into the next. It happened gradually, but I suddenly realized that I thought of my parents each time I passed Survivor Tree. It reminded me of them–my parents’ ability to stay rooted and continue to grow despite daunting obstacles in their path. It also reminded me of their unconditional love.

Around New Year’s Day, I stopped and listened more closely to Survivor Tree. I felt its seed calling from deep inside my heart. Having lain dormant for many years, this seed now asked to be nourished, nurtured and encouraged to grow. Tuning into its call, I realized that Survivor Seed contains a manuscript I wrote while my parents were alive.

The manuscript told the story of my parents’ escape from Hitler-occupied Czechoslovakia—their homeland. While Mother read what I had written and patiently corrected my spelling of names and places from their past, she preferred that I not pursue having it published. At the time, I honored her request.

Now, twenty five years later, Survivor Tree reminds me of that long ago manuscript and my intention to eventually publish it as a book. It will need much revising, but if I help Survivor Seed grow it might reach up toward the sky and branch out to form a book.


  1. Cilla

    Nicely written my friend.

    • Lesley Irene Shore

      Thank you!! I greatly appreciate your support, especially considering how much I admire your writing. We go way back, to our early years as psychologists. Both now retired and focusing on writing. I treasure our friendship.

  2. Iris Weaver

    That is beautiful. The pictures of Survivor Tree’s roots are so lovely. And in the second picture i see a wild sarsparilla plant to the right of the roots.

    • Lesley Irene Shore

      Thanks so much, Iris. And yes, very observant of you. That is a wild sarsaparilla plant — Aralia nudicaulis. I know she’s usually considered an alterative, but some of us think she might have mild adaptogenic qualities as she’s a member of the Ginseng family. Very fitting!

      • Iris Weaver

        I think of her as a nervine, with those long root connections with occasional nodes.

  3. Lesley Irene Shore

    Hmmm. I love this association; thanks for sharing it. What a great companion for Survivor Tree!


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