Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Forest and the Trees

Yesterday, Saturday, May 1, Megan, her friend, Kelsey and I, visited the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest outside of Robinsville, NC. It took us a couple hours to get there because of the weather and because we had to go through Cherokee National Forest. The road through the forest is apparently quite popular with motorcyclists because it is very winding. We had to climb to 4100 feet, then back down to 2500 feet to get to the JKM Forest.

The trip was worth it! The trees were huge! They were at least 12 feet around and 50 feet tall. The wildflowers were amazing and plentiful - may apple, Solomon's plume, Solomon's seal, white and purple violets, foam flower, white and read trillium and several others. We heard palliated woodpeckers and other birds. The stream that ran through the forest was beautiful as well. It was a fitting end to a week that saw the completion of another challenging semester.

That brings me to the reason for the title of this post. Sometimes, we can have a very challenging and difficult semester - lots of papers, perhaps a math class that is very difficult, maybe a professor that has an attitude, or situations in our personal life that make it difficult to concentrate on school. Those things are the forest. It's easy to get lost in the forest.

We need to stop and look at the trees and see how beautiful they are. Is there something you are learning from your research on that paper topic? Is there a classmate who understands math and is willing to be in a study group with you who has made the class a little easier? Has the professor's attitude made you kick it up just a notch and demand a little more of yourself? Has the situation in your personal life made you realize you need to pull back a little on school to give more to your family? Whatever the case may be, it's worth stopping to look at the trees.

There is a saying, "You can't see the forest for the trees", which means you can't see the big picture because you're too busy worrying about the minute details. Sometimes, those details are worth paying attention to so you can see the big picture, "A forest is made up of many trees." Stay tuned . . .

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