A Bend in the Sidewalk

While Idaho is considered the “Gem State,” its capital — Boise — is known as the “City of Trees.” An unapologetic tree-hugger, I adore living in one of the historic preservation districts where trees are worked around, instead of cut down. Take this sidewalk for example:


Talk about forward thinking! From my perspective, this is planning extraordinaire. Where tree roots might potentially cause a sidewalk to buckle, they swerve around the base, giving the roots a wide and healthy berth.

Even where trees sit much further back from the sidewalk, they take root growth into consideration.


And so it is in life. With forethought, we too can offer healthy growing space to people, places, things, events, ideas, and opportunities.

What have you made room for?

© lauriebuchanan.com

67 thoughts on “A Bend in the Sidewalk

  1. What have I made room for? My husband’s need to have time to get cranked up in the morning while I’m raring to go. He cuts a wide berth for me too in the evening when I’m winding down.

    I like your tree metaphor today. Jacksonville has lovely live oaks whose deep roots and wide expanse the city sometimes (not always) accommodates. And I always appreciate your walking around with those 3-D glasses showing us how to be alert and aware.

  2. I’ve made room for transition, waiting, indecision, and flux. Hard work for an INTJ who likes to move from goal to goal. Just focusing on the daily, on reading, cleaning, resting, and playing until the Next Thing emerges clearly. Rather enjoying this, actually.

    • Shirley — Cut from a similar bolt of cloth, I understand the exhilaration of ticking items off a ta-dah list and moving from goal to goal. I’m so glad you’ve found joy while walking a mile in a different pair of shoes 🙂

  3. Perfectly on point for me this Tuesday, Laurie! Presently I’m finding myself once again making room for the upcoming NEXT level of evolutionary growth! Feels like it’s going to be a doozy!

  4. Being another unapologetic tree hugger, I just LOVE this. Who would have thought a town would care so much for trees – and PLAN for their growth and survival? I may need to move :-).

  5. I can not see the “bend in the sidewalk” of my life. However, I do sense a “jag” in the path ahead. At this point, I’m simply making room for quieting myself to be open to guidance from my higher self and higher guidance. I have also asked a colleague/friend for support … making room for others to support me an important step for me.

    • Audrey — Tremendous words of heart-based wisdom from you this morning: “…making room for others to support me.” This is difficult, yet vital, for people who give so much of themselves to others — like YOU.

  6. As I read through the comments, it seems like many folks are – like me – trying to make room for a new life path. Your post came at the perfect time! By the way, I will forevermore think of my to-do list as a “ta-dah” list…and that alone is a wonderful blessing! Thank you!

  7. As another tree hugger, I love these sidewalks, Laurie.
    What have I made room for?
    I have always loved to listen — at concerts, festivals, in my kitchen — any where and every where. But me sing? Um, no. But that’s been changing, lately.
    Approximately 30 people gather in a community centre on Mayne Island, usually every second Friday in each month. I share a story I’ve written and sing along, while others play. But during the last gathering, before sharing my story, I sang a brief song. Well, now I’m hooked — I want to sing more, for fun — only for fun. Writing has always and will remain my voice.

  8. Hum, such a good question Laurie and I don’t have a ready answer. I think I will have to ask myself this question again over the next while and see what effects it has on my planning. Best of the season to and Len Laurie! I expect that I shall be around less over the next couple of weeks with the holidays approaching. Do enjoy those trees!

  9. I love those sidewalks that go around the trees! We could use that here. Our sidewalks are buckled from the big old trees around our house, and they will some day have to be replaced. I’d like to say I have made room for books, but when my are piled everywhere, I don’t think that counts. 🙂

  10. On a literal level, we just lost several trees around the corner because they had torn up the sidewalks and it was deemed unsafe for kids to walk to school… when I was a kid you tripped and fell and learned a lesson to look where you were going…. oh well.
    On another level, dealing with kids…. or anybody…. it’s important to give them space to grow in whatever direction they feel the call… these trees are fortunate indeed!

  11. I am a huge tree proponent as well. In fact I have two very large pine trees on either side of my house, and I consider them my sentinels. But whoever planted them didn’t plan so well–there’s concrete on all sides with the road. And roots are breaking up through the concrete. Not sure what to do (we’re having bad drought here too, though it has rained lately), but I know whatever solution I think of, it will be to help the trees and somehow make this work. I really feel they are sacred.

  12. As a kid I always loved when sidewalks would bend around a tree. It seemed like the most perfect place to rollerskate or ride my bike around. As for your question and what I have made room for…currently I’m trying to make room for self love. For so long everything and everyone has come first and I lost touch with myself. It’s been a challenging task so far and I’m not winning the game, but I’m aware and working it.

  13. I think that anyone who respects life of any sort ( and that means trees ) is in my gang . So well done Boise you deserve a round of applause …amazing .
    Now I’ve come down from my soap box da da da da .
    I suppose you could say Laurie that over the last few months I’ve given myself space . I have moved into a totally different environment , loving it too I might add, but I have not rushed into anything . I am taking each day at a time and it just feels right

  14. Love this Laurie. I also love trees and really get ticked when developers refuse to work around trees, even when told to do so they find excuses to cut down every tree/clear cutting the whole of a property. Then they have little twigs of trees planted that will take years to grow.

    I am making room in my heart and spirit for others.

  15. I have a picture of a street in Cochabamba, Bolivia. A very large tree stands smack dab in the middle of a paved street. They left it there when they paved, and people just drive around it. It struck me as something North Americans wouldn’t do, even though it was so logical. It’s good to see the idea is spreading.

  16. Hi Laurie

    Have been thinking a lot about space and freedom and tolerance lately.

    Last week I went to the premier (midnight) screening of the third of the Hobbit movies (the battle of the five armies). I found the treatment of one character in there particularly enlightening on the nature of freedom. Alfrid Lickspittle (servant to the Master of Lake Town then to Bard) is one of the more despicable characters, with few if any redeeming features, yet he is given chance after chance by many different characters (particularly Bard).
    I found it a particularly interesting a profound treatment of the degree to which one can respect life and attempt to protect life and to teach, even in the face of almost pure exploitation on the part of the other.

    It is a profound enquiry, the degree to which we provide others space to grow, even if they choose not to use it (for whatever reasons).

    It still seems clear to me that, as a society, we could do much more to ensure that every individual has the space to grow in whatever realm they choose (rather than “Bonsai”ing into spaces that severely limit potential). And it is clear to me that the values of the market place (the love of money) is the single greatest impediment to providing that space for all.

    It is somehow profoundly disturbing to me that a society could put more effort into providing space for trees, than it does to providing space for the sapient entities of our own species.
    Not that I have anything against trees, I am something of a tree hugger, and it just seems to be a profoundly distorted set of priorities.

    • Ted — I read your comment to Len; particularly the part about Hobbit movie as he is an avid (AVID!) fan. We both agree with you that as a society there is oh-so-much more we can do to insure that each and every individual has safe and healthy space in which to spread their wings and grow to their highest and best potential.

      (Side note…my Toki pendant arrived (it only took 11 days) and I love it. The craftsmanship is impeccable) 🙂

  17. Laurie, I am taking you quite literally today. I recently bought a young Carolina Blue cedar to plant in my Blue-Gray-Green garden. After the frost I took mattock in hand and cleaned out a good open space for it to grow. Now I am looking for enough time to put it in the ground.

  18. Thanks Laurie. Having changed my life quite a bit recently I’ve realised that it’s not a only a matter of time, but also about priorities and about making space for those around us…and also for ourselves…You city sounds and looks wonderful. I live in a small town in a rural area so I’m blessed with trees galore.

  19. What a beautiful place. I hate to see a tree cut down. It’s recently I made room for a persistent little cat. She belonged to our neighbours but chose to be our cat despite my discouragement. She became part of our family. Sadly she got run over by a car but I’ll never forget the joy she brought for a short while.

  20. Life has made more space in my life this holiday season – as it will be the first without my children or extended family. I miss my “boys” so much! BUT, the space has allowed me to get back to the basics of the season, to find my own meaning in the season without the constant pull of creating something for others. In the space I have thought much about which traditions to keep and which to discard and exploring long distance ways of connecting. The love has poured into the empty space. Wonderful, thought provoking blog as always, Laurie!

    • Dorothy — I so enjoyed reading your response because it’s our first holiday season away from our son who is still in the Chicago area where we relocated from in April. I so appreciate your perspective: “The love has poured into the empty space.” Thank you!

  21. I have cut back the number of book reviews per week I will do ( although one week in May has a book everyday – hope springs eternal) I want to review some on the books that I am interested in too and just read some of them, so I made room for choice.

    I just finished my last review for 2014 and I think I may send it unedited – let go of needing be so correct – take a writing risk and am so ready to relax…Nap time or as Master Tova says – time for extreme meditation!

    This is fun Laurie…as right outside my window the street floods and disintegrates with Western Cedar roots ripping up the sidewalk, discarding needles in my gutters until they overflow and clogging the sewer drains – no planning for this 200 year + old tree – just taking charge

    • Patricia — My eyes would fall right out of my head if I read as much as you! But I’m glad you do because I always enjoy reading your reviews. You’re almost single-handedly responsible for my “must read” list! 🙂

  22. As of late we are “making room” for all the college planning for our brood, all of which which will be moving in that direction one after the other in the coming years. Of course these concerns are more of priority and some other seemingly important matters are more what I would put in as “making room.” This is such a lovely post with the lead in of the tree dominated Boise streets, surely a paradise for those who love these treasures of nature.

    • Sam — You and Lucille have five ducklings lined up straight in a row, ready to spring — one after the other — headfirst into college. There’s nothing better that I can think of making room for!

  23. This is a problem in the UK where tree roots end up bulging pavements and tarmac. Most people hate it them, but out on my mountain bike there are certain streets with awesome little jumps thanks to the trees 🙂

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