The Survival Tree and what it taught me.


Recently I was camping with my family in Cypress Hills AB Canada. It is a beautuful park that crosses into Saskatchewan. It is full of rolling hills, beautiful views, wildlife, rich in Canadian History and there are lovely  Lodgepole Pines. They are  tall and straight reaching for sunlight side by side.


One day we decided to take a drive around the park. This drive took us to many historical places, a beautiful lake and we came upon “The Survival Tree.”

Being a Survivor of Domestic Violence, and knowing many other Survivors, I was interested to see what this tree was all about.

We came upon the tree on top of a grassy plateau. It was surrounded by a steel bar fence and there was a plaque nearby. The plack said that this lodgepole pine had survived maulings by cattle, heavy snow and had even been cut down once!! Amazingly it had survived 150 years of hardship and kept coming back.


I looked at this Lodgepole pine and it looked nothing like the other pines I had seen. It wasn’t tall and straight. Instead it looked more like a large bush and had three twisted branches reaching for sunlight and life. I thought it was amazing.


Like other Survivors it had endured hardship. It had been beaten down more than once and it kept coming back. It didn’t look like it used too, but that was ok. It had adapted to all it was given and grew new branches and sprouted new leaves. Yes it showed it’s battle scars with it’s twisted branches, but it also showed how full of life it was.

I thought of myself and all of the amazing Survivors I know. Each of us have endured abuse and unimaginable pain, but somehow through all of this we still survive. We are not who we used to be, but that is ok. We may have our own twisted branches, but we are still beautiful. We are still reaching for light and new life and that is beyond amazing.

About Janet B

I am a Domestic Violence Survivor, who battles PTSD. I share what I know to help others on their journey and to help educate society. I also Supervise a Mentoring Program at Verbal Abuse Journals ( This program matches Survivors who have been out of the abusive relationship for a few years, and are now Mentors,  with Survivors who are either still in an abusive relationship or have just left. A mentoring relationship is set up via email where the Mentor offers guidance and support to the Survivor for as long as they need. Please feel free to sign up for this free service at

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I have been working/volunteering at Verbal Abuse Journals as a Mentor to other Survivors of Abuse.

My facebook page: Freedom Within: My Journey through Domestic Violence and PTSD


Pinterest: Freedom Within