Olivia Arnold

Shoutout to the Plants Growing Through Concrete

I heard the quote, “shoutout to the plants growing through concrete” and liked it. I thought of seeing a plant or two pushing its way through to continue growing towards the light. I thought of what I believe the quote intended, that a seemingly small, fragile plant can actually be stronger than what is thought to be powerful, forceful concrete. That a person, who is acted on by forces seemingly much stronger than themselves, can in fact break through and continue to grow despite whatever tried to bury them. I love that imagery. I always pictured it in a small scale though. Maybe one or two lonely but resilient plants.

Then I took this walk through what use to be untouched natural land. There was a paved path so people could walk through. I was so amazed by what I saw. Endless amounts of plants that had been paved over pushing through and distorting the pavement to continue growing. Not just growing through existing cracks but making way for themselves and creating the cracks for themselves after being fully covered with nowhere to go. Making cracks so big that it is difficult to walk on the pavement in this area. The plants have pushed the pavement out of the way. I was so excited by this. It isn’t just one, strong plant, it is so many, different types of plants growing together. It made me think of the many, many people who have obstacles thrown in their way and how so many of them choose to keep fighting and “grow through their pavement” whatever that may be. I thought of the widow community, my widowed friends, people I’ve met at Camp Widow, or even just in online groups, and about how many strong, resilient people I’ve had the privilege of witnessing and growing beside. I think of all the people that don’t just sit idle and let themselves be paved over. It really is inspiring.

This is now my favourite walk to take. I silently root for those little plants to keep growing through and hope for the ones that are still buried underneath to push through on their own or with the help of the other plants. Nature’s resilience is amazing. People’s resilience is too.

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Planning Hawaii

I’m all finished with school for the summer and heading to Hawaii with David! By the time this posts on Thursday I will already be there actually.  I’m really excited to go. We have a lot of exciting things planned to do. Planning the trip was easy with David because we were interested in the same activities. If he found an idea of something he liked I was always super excited about it and vice versa. As we were planning, we started a shared document to use as an itinerary and for the first time since Mike died I was actually excited to use it.

I think I mentioned in a previous post when I was on vacation with my friend Heather about how I had lost my enthusiasm for trip planning. I had still wanted to go on trips but I didn’t have the motivation, concentration or memory to be able to plan the details of flights, cars, stay, and researching and coordinating things to do. It was frustrating to me because I had always been good at it and enjoyed it. It used to be my thing. Then after Mike died I couldn’t seem to care less even though I tried. And even when I tried I missed important things that could have caused a disaster travelling. I eventually just started to go with the flow of someone else organizing everything but I felt a bit numb doing that.

Planning for Hawaii has been so completely different. I feel like me. I have been on top of researching what I want to do, where, and when and following up with companies about booking.  I have every little detail documented in order with confirmation numbers, times, location etc. I printed all the excursions, car, stay, flight confirmation emails and put them in order. Maybe it’s a little intense but organizing and planning makes me feel good. I had just been in a shift for a while. I don’t want to say my trip planning “is back”or I’m the “old me”  because I don’t believe you ever really go back. Plus, this trip is so different than anything I had previously planned. It is a very active, adventurous trip. It’s full of a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have done before. I’m not just making lists of possible sites to see; I’m planning, booking and gathering the needed gear for some pretty intense activities.  I think I’ve used my previous organization skills to be my basis for planning for a more rigorous, absolutely-need-it-all-figured-out and be prepared trip. It’s my 2.0 version of planning.

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  • commented on Getting Out of My Own Way 2018-06-12 05:03:49 -0700
    Karin, that’s great you have a group out there. I wasn’t planning on going to Kona unfortunately :( It would have been nice to meet up. I’m not sure how to privately send you my contact info in case something changes. Maybe find on fb?

  • commented on Vacation Reflection 2018-04-03 10:02:56 -0700
    Marybeth, Barbados is so nice! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it too. I hope you are able to plan a vacation soon!

  • commented on And That's Why You Don't Have a Baby 2018-04-03 10:00:18 -0700
    I’m glad you could relate. You can’t enjoy the present if you’re thinking of what milestones you haven’t had

  • commented on Vulnerability 2018-03-20 09:47:38 -0700
    Thanks Stephanie! I do find it healing to write. Yes, not healed but together in the process so not alone. Thanks for your comment!

  • commented on Vacation 2018-03-20 09:57:36 -0700
    Thanks Cindy! Other than the Caribbean I haven’t traveled to the same places without Mike. However, my travelling philosophy is more so in seeing as many places as I can so I am not inclined to go back for other reasons. Caribbean is an easy relaxing vacation so I had to move past my reservations with that one. I agree, the triggers can be a reminder of what a wonderful love we had. I don’t try to stop it. I let it come; happened a few times on this trip.

  • commented on The Me Now 2018-03-07 18:39:57 -0800
    Thanks Stephanie for the warm welcome! I’m sorry for the very slow response. I realized I can only respond to comments on my laptop and it doesn’t post from my phone.

    Teresa W, that’s great you’re from Ontario! Maybe see you at Camp Widow!

    Teresa Renee, it was a pleasure meeting you too. Your words are so true! Thank you for sharing them!

  • commented on The Me in the We 2018-03-07 18:37:09 -0800
    Thanks Gayle!

  • commented on Why I Smile 2018-03-07 18:36:36 -0800
    Indira, I know the feeling of a shattered heart. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • commented on My Family 2018-03-07 18:34:03 -0800
    Teresa, I know I am very fortunate to have them. I definitely appreciate them!

  • commented on I'm Building my Wings on the Way Down 2018-01-06 11:47:25 -0800
    Loved this post. The first paragraph about not wanting to ring in the new year without him, now or never really resonated with me. Thank you!

Doing things a late twenty-something woman does...as a widow. Re-creating my life and identity, being outdoors, adventurous and active, teaching, laughing and crying, and living my new life a little less seriously.
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