One bright, sunny day I chose to go for a walk through the Botanical Gardens in Bundaberg. It was lovely to see that more of the park which had been damaged in the flood, was now reopened to the public. Many of the birds were very noisily going about their everyday business.
I walked slowly around enjoying the coolness of the shady trees. As I rounded one corner my heart stopped for just a moment and so did my feet. There among a group of birds was a rooster which looked like Ricky. Ricky was one of our roosters and a much loved pets. He had the most beautiful yellowy gold colour collar of neck feathers with each one having a black stripe down the middle. His back was a mixture of red, brown and white feathers, while on his chest were patches of black and white. His cone was always bright red and standing tall, and his long, black tail glistened with green and blue in the sun. His extremely good looks were somewhat due to being part bantam which also meant that he was smaller than most of the hens. Despite all of this he had a really bad attitude. He would try and spur anyone and everyone at any and every opportunity that he could find or make up. If it had not been for his good looks and the fact that he was my son-s pet his life span would have been very short. However, we loved him - warts and all. Beautiful Ricky died quite a few years ago under mysterious circumstances.
Tears filled my eyes as I saw this rooster walking around. Memories came flooding back of all the time spent caring for and loving Ricky and our other fowls. I remembered having to use a rake to keep him at bay so that I could collect the eggs, or fix up the food and water, but also giving him lots of hugs and cuddles which he really enjoyed, after the children had caught him. I started to walk away fearing that I would break down completely and burst into uncontrollably crying.
After only taking a few paces I changed my mind and wanted to see that rooster close up. As I moved close I saw an elderly gentleman sitting on the park bench feeding the ducks and roosters. Beside him on the bench was his dog who was more interested in the people walking past than the birds who were within reach. Tears started to well up in my eyes and run down my cheeks. I had to wipe them away so I could see. There he was - a beautiful rooster, so similar to Ricky but quite different at the same time. This rooster was taller and much thinner, most probably younger too. The tears started to slow and a smile crept across my face.
I continued my walk consciously looking at the birds, trees, flowers and everything around me to try and take my mind off Ricky. Then I noticed something. A tree had been injured and there was sap seeping from it. As I looked at that tree I did not see sap but tears, tears that a tree had been crying because of an injury.
Trees can be very strong, sturdy and dependable. They sink their roots down deep into the earth and reach out their limbs basking them in the sun's rays. Yet even the largest of trees will seep or weep sap when they are injured. It continues until the wound is sealed off. However, should one disturb this healing process and the wound be reopened then the seeping starts all over again. Not only this but the weeping is not concealed or hidden it is there on the outside of the tree for all to see. The tree is not ashamed to acknowledge that it has been hurt and needs to heal.
At one time or another most people are injured whether physically, emotionally or psychologically. It does not matter how old, strong or dependable they are they too need to cry. They need to allow themselves to weep on and off until the wound is fully healed. For each person this is a different length of time, but you will know when the healing has started as the memories will no longer be as painful and finally will no longer bring tears to your eyes. This weeping is not shameful nor does it have to be hidden. It is just something you are going through at the time.
In my meandering around the park that day I ended up back where I saw the rooster. This time he was sitting by himself beside a table. As I walked over near him someone else come over with food. I stopped and watched, then commented to the person on what a lovely rooster he was. She agreed and I slowly moved away with a smile on my face.
That day I was confronted with painful memories which brought tears to my eyes. Instead of instantly sweeping them away and running from the thing that brought them to my mind, I allowed them to linger for a few minutes acknowledging them as facts from my past. I also acknowledged that what I saw that day was another beautiful looking rooster which ended up bringing a little bit of sunshine into my life. Like the tree that I saw weeping, I too shed a tear then moved on with my life.
© S. D. Goeldner, 2013.
© S. D. Goeldner, 2013. Last updated August, 2016.
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