Thistles & Thorns

Throughout 500 miles of walking, there are vast amounts of wilderness to encounter. Day after day, the walking passes through high mountains, rolling farmlands, and desolate plains, each showing off their character through fanciful assortments of trees, shrubs, and various vegetations that inhabit those lands. Indeed, there are more grandiose and awe-inspiring landscapes and moments to remember other than this one; yet, this particular plant (and its neighbor which isn't pictured here), with it's bent and twisted stems, invites me into its presence, despite the thorns which shield it from close encounters.

The light of the early morning and its blue, clouded sky create an impressive backdrop to set the stage for this thistle's dry and golden, thorny stems. The withered plant seems to beg for assistance all the while displaying its pride that it can do it on its own. Like a child that is clearly in need of help, but wants to prove that he or she is capable enough to climb out of whatever moment of despair they are in. I can't help but stop and stare at it, intrigued enough to pull my camera's viewfinder to my eye and capture this moment.

Perhaps, this is how I felt at the time; maybe I saw myself reflected in this plant. Tired and sore, frustrated by foot and back pain, but forced to continue living and trekking along. Hopefully, my demeanor was less sharp and pointed toward others than this plant's, but undoubtedly there were moments where I could have used help and denied those who offered it out of self-respect and pride.

It's difficult to admit that there are situations, despite the thorns and sharps that we use to protect ourselves, we need to lay our ego down and ask for help. The more the years pass by, the more the realization sets in that asking for help isn't a signal of weakness, but a marker of strength. It allows others into our lives, which in-turn forge bonds that are much stronger than an isolated attempt at living.

A three-stranded cord is not readily broken; we need others.

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Writer, Photographer, Strategist

Portland, OR
By way of London, California, & Colorado