• Brynne Betz

Friday Favorite (2); Untamed and Utterly Free

Updated: Nov 23, 2021


photo via google images


The plum tree toward the back of the orchard, the one that grew closest to the fence, didn’t look like the others. Her limbs didn’t shoot out half-way up from a single strong trunk and because of that, she wasn’t as tall as the others, not the apple trees, the pear trees or even the other plum. Instead, she was wider than the rest, more like a petrified octopus than an average tree, her arms stretching out low and deep like sinewy muscles, centered but reaching up, different limbs of her one solid self.


If you set out just beyond the big old pine tree, the one beside the guest house with the over-grown lilac and the dark red peonies, you’d be on the right path. Around the crab apple and dodging the clothesline, your feet would soon find a longer, softer grass with lumps and bumps and maybe even a grasshopper or two. The orchard was never a fancy place. It was untamed back when I was a little girl, just the way I most needed it to be.


Maybe that’s why I loved to visit.

Untamed but rooted.

Expansive but grounded.

Wildly alive and utterly free.

And especially, my beloved plum tree.


Sometimes I’d eat lunch with her, perched in her arms, chewing and talking and swinging my legs as if it were the most natural thing in the world. She was strong. She was rooted. And she brought me peace. I trusted her. I relied on her. She brought me joy. All without ever saying a word.


* * *


We look around our world today and shake our heads in disbelief. Over 400,000 people dead, deaths that could’ve been prevented, each one taking with them big pieces of our heart. We see our earth crying out for consciousness—floods, tornados, hurricanes and droughts, each tragedy seemingly more intense than the last. We watch in horror at the racist, phobic, hateful rhetoric of our friends and neighbors, our spirits gouged again and again.


We find ourselves aching for greater kindness, for softer eyes and wiser hearts. For uplifting hands, understanding ears, and voices of love. We crave greater meaning, fiercer purpose, and a community of like-minded souls who share what we value the most.


And when we don’t find those human treasures externally, we sink. Again and again. Deeper and deeper. Into a pit that seems to have no exit. ‘Why?!’ we bellow out into the abyss. ‘Why is it all so hard?!’


* * *


Across mountains, beside rivers and streams, along roads, over bridges, and finally, near the sea, I return to my favorite tree. I climb up, close my eyes, and let her arms envelop me. This is what she reminds me to be:


Free from the idea of how things are supposed to be.

Open to how things are because I am rooted, grounded, at peace within myself.

Strong in spirit because I value my spirit.

Determined to be who I was born to be.

Expanded by my own creativity.

Aware of the untamed nature of my soul.

Fed, deeply, by what is.

And most importantly,

Swinging my feet and dreaming . . . bench, ledge or chair. . . but preferably, as often as possible, upon my favorite tree.


And all at once, I am

Untamed but rooted.

Expansive but grounded.

Wildly alive and utterly free. . .


Regardless of what happens around me.