Learning to Accept What I Can’t Control

***Originally posted on https://lifeinthespectrum.com/.

As one who has minor (ginormous) challenges with slight (immeasurably large) control issues, I have yet to find a way to master my emotional response to situations that don’t turn out according to plan (that I created in my mind regardless of anyone else’s plan or reality). While I am aware of this flaw in my thought process, I struggle deeply with disentangling my personal feelings from the scenarios that upset me even when I recognize that I can’t change them.

A few months ago, we moved to a unique suburban area that offered over-sized lots with a small forest of trees blanketing the back of the yards. My oldest daughter and I discovered a shared passion for wildlife photography (especially of the feathered variety). We have always loved birds, but we were clueless about the vast array of species that would appear when we shared a little space with a grove of native trees.

In addition we have since found countless animal tracks trotting across our yard (inside our entirely enclosed fence). Our family and friends have been entertained over and over again with photos from our game camera as well as our evening animal stakeouts (a.k.a. sitting together in the dark in my room while we all stare out the windows with binoculars in hand and wait for our eyes to adjust and the nocturnal zoo to reveal itself).

game cam1

This level of nature may not be for everyone, but it’s an absolute paradise to my crew.

So when I woke a few mornings ago to the sickening crack of massive trees being felled a few feet behind our home, I felt an indescribable sadness. Our lot backs up to a tiny creek that separates our property from the lots behind us. Despite having a massive lot and a huge amount of space available for any castle / pool / soccer field the a new resident might need, the builders bulldozed tree after tree to the ground. The birds flew madly and many pairs could be heard wailing madly for hours as their nests and chicks were stolen away from them.


This was the view from our lot a few days prior. We were upset with our own builder for clearing the back of our lot, but we were confident that the green space would be maintained.

To be clear, I’m not an unrealistic person nor do I live in a tree house of my own. I understand that even if it isn’t exactly what I want, many trees may have to come down to make room for a home, pool, and significant yard. But if you buy a massive wooded lot, why in the world would you ever destroy such natural beauty that took decades (or longer) to grow? Why come here at all? In addition, it was a clear violation of everything that we had been told about maintaining the larger trees. Although we rallied with the other neighbors beside us to get the builder involved and stop further mindless clearing, the damage was already done. The builder feigned confusion about the excess of clearing, and the destroyed trees were piled into an 18 wheeler and hauled away.


This quickly became our view as the bulldozer began to tear through the trees. They did significant additional clearing after this photo was taken, but I couldn’t stomach taking another picture of the decimated habitat.

There was a pair of great horned owls that lived in one of the trees behind us that is now gone. We used to see a thick forest when we looked across our back fence but now see power lines and electrical boxes running along the other street several hundred feet behind our lot. I feel so sad and I don’t know how to let that go. I can’t control their choices nor can I fix the damage they caused.

All I can do is pray that the sadness will fade and that hope will find a way in the end.

I can’t change what has been done, but I humbly ask that you please consider planting a very small native tree or shrub near your home, school, or park. Any home improvement or garden store should be able to offer basic advice regarding appropriate plant species. If not, google might have one or two (thousand) suggestions. People constantly asking us how we get these beautiful species in our yard, and the answer is truly so simple. They just need a little bit of help.

We can’t control the situations around us nor can we go back in time to undo a hurt once it has happened. But we can make better choices when others can’t or won’t. We can rise above the pain. We can recognize that anger may be warranted but cannot define our existence. And we can choose hope and prove that it’s more than an idea.

As Willy Wonka beautifully said, “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams.”

And it’s true. Regardless of what is occurring around you, find your song and celebrate your dreams. Never forget that the smallest light can brighten the darkest room. Don’t let fear, hurt, or anger extinguish your brilliant glow. Find that beautiful spark that is an innate part of who you truly are, take positive action of your own whenever you can, and show the world what it’s like to shine.

Hugs to you all. Jo

***Originally posted on https://lifeinthespectrum.com/.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shoreacres
    Aug 08, 2018 @ 07:55:02

    That’s tough. A friend who has a summer cottage on a Michigan lake went to open up the cottage — last year, I think — and found that new neighbors had bulldozed every tree on their lot. Every one. As she said, if you don’t want trees, why buy a lot on a lake in the woods? People are weird sometimes — and it can be hard to deal with.


    • Jo Price
      Aug 08, 2018 @ 09:24:58

      It’s tough when we have no way to undo something like that. In my mind, I had already tried to prepare myself for a worst case scenario. Unfortunately my worst case scenario in no way accounted for the actual worse case scenario.


  2. KDKH
    Aug 08, 2018 @ 09:29:12

    I would also be quite distressed. I’m so sorry.


    • Jo Price
      Aug 08, 2018 @ 13:25:19

      Yes I felt like I was going to end up on the news with my neighbors as we all debated about who had the best chains for locking ourselves to the remaining trees. 😉 I believe that the greatest good appears in times of deep sadness, but I do struggle with this one. It just seems so pointless.


  3. Writer Lori
    Aug 08, 2018 @ 09:53:06

    Oh Jo, I am *so* sorry!! This ‘clear-cutting’ phenomenon has become popular here in our NH neighborhood as well, and I have a physical reaction to it. Literally feel sick to my stomach when I see the bulldozers and saws moving in. They are *raping* the land, and like many others, I have to wonder why one would move into a wooded area with an abundance of wildlife and then flatten everything? It is beyond distressing….


  4. E
    Aug 09, 2018 @ 08:43:03

    So sorry for the ways of the world Jo. Ugh. I say watch The Lorax and have a good cry. Invite all the displaced animals in for popcorn and berries.


    • Jo Price
      Aug 09, 2018 @ 16:34:02

      I read that book to my littlest kiddo every now and then. Actually I can only read the first two thirds of it because I get a little choked up whenever he chops that last tree down. It hits a little too close to home because the land clearing has been a huge problem for years and years over here (and sadly it seems many other places, too). As soon as my voice wavers and my eyes start to get shiny, my 3 year becomes very disconcerted and alarmed. I’ve learned to let my older daughter finish that book to avoid embarrassment for me and trauma for her! But it’s still one of my all time favorites and I adore that the book ends on a note of hope, too. 🙂


  5. overthehillontheyellowbrickroad
    Aug 10, 2018 @ 09:42:40

    To me, this says it all: “As Willy Wonka beautifully said, “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams.” I love it.


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