On the second day of the Camino I noticed the trees.

So. Many. Trees.

Old trees, new trees, fat trees, tall trees, perfect trees, broken trees ...

Trees I had never seen before.

I was dazzled.

And then, there it was: a tiny, fragile, new tree staked to a large, knobby, deeply-rooted, older tree.

It was obvious that some kind arborist had intentionally lashed the younger tree to the older; provided that wobbly sapling a sturdy support as it grew.

I stopped walking and stared.

And a gentle voice whispered into my soul:

That. That is what I want the next phase of your life to be.

I want you to be a support, a brace, a reinforcement for those coming behind you.

It was so clear.

I failed to take a photo, but the image - and the message - is seared into my mind.

Reminds me of this bit of writing from William Martin:

Some do their work in the hope

that future generations will revere and bless them.

But the sage works so that future generations

will be free to follow their own paths

and live their own lives.

If we begrudge the younger generation

its enthusiasms or its dreams

it will only make us miserable.

Let us instead encourage their dreams,

support them with our wisdom,

and bless them with your prayers.

It is only fitting that the young inherit the world.

So did we.

Give freely of your leadership,

but don't worry about being appreciated.

Happily pass what wisdom you have gained

on to younger generations,

but don't worry about being valued.

Let them look ahead, not behind.

We are their foundation,

they will supply the house.

William Martin, The Sage's Tao Te Ching

What a gift. To use the second half of my life to support those in the first half of theirs.

Ok, trees. Ok. I'll do it.