Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Roots (2/8/2016)

When I took the photo below of the root my wife told me that it would make a great entry in my next nature blog/journal.  Her comment did not leave the back of my mind for a long time now; it has been more than a week since I took this picture.  It is like planting a seed in one’s mind and watching it germinate and take root (pardon the pun).

This picture was taken in Newport News Park showing an old road cut and how the tree is rooted into the soil (photo take 1/31/2016).

I was at a loss what to write about, except for showing this picture, but then while listening to a program on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD on Satellite Radio it all the sudden struck me: what we are now is all rooted on past experiences and we feed on it, whether we like it or not.  Buddha tells us:

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment,” 

but it is so damn hard to follow.  If you are like me, it is so difficult to live in the moment sometimes, my mind is all over the place.  (So sorry guys no nature blog while talking about roots)

Listening to that program on PTSD, reminds me of a dear friend who served in Iraq and suffers from PTSD.  I witnessed one of his flashbacks and it was terrible to see a strong grown man have these.  Another acquaintance of mine who served in Afghanistan told me he has them too.  Their current lives are rooted in those past experiences, it has changed them and it’s difficult to escape at times.  My father had them his entire life, after spending time in Hitler's camps.  Interestingly, the doctors were discussing that there are indications that they can now detect PTSD in the tone of voice of PTSD sufferers and maybe even in the content of their saliva. 

Listening to the program, I was immediately taken back to my first experiences in Uganda in 1978, and I was wondering if I am (or my wife and I are) psychologically shaped the way I am (we are) by the events I (we) went through back then, just like the doctors were discussing on the radio.  I know my wife and I had PTSD after we were liberated in May 1979; the strange sound of a toilet flushing sent my wife under the table the first time she heard it, thinking we were being bombed or being shot at.

But even now, just listening to the discussion on the radio gave me flashbacks to that time 37 and 38 years ago.  Suffice it to say, I should have been killed but I escaped getting killed probably four times.  I also still feel guilty for not preventing a young boy from getting killed by an angry mob two days after we arrived in the country.  It’s all too gruesome to describe, but if you like me to, let me know and I can blog about it, one day.

It all came rushing back to me, again.  I wonder if the tone of my voice and my saliva are different from what it would have been if I had not experienced it, or my elevated blood pressure is caused by it or my migraines are partially the result of it.  So yes, I am rooted in the past, and I know I should not dwell on it just as Buddha says, but concentrate on the present and maybe prepare for the future.

Downtown Richmond, the roots of this old tree have expanded so much that they are growing over the curb and the sidewalk.  It makes you wonder what they can find there.  I am always amazed by the tenacity of some of these trees.  Looks like someone is trying to feed the tree some Red Bull, I hate people who liter (photo taken 2/9/2016).

1 comment:

  1. I just read that 58% of the people exposed to combat experience PTSD according to a 2008 RAND Corporation report