Each Tree is a Door to Opportunity

Dear Reader:

I had one of those nights Tuesday night when I just could not get to sleep. For whatever reason I was wired… my mind was scurrying all over the place. It was probably around 4:30 before I fell asleep…only to be “rudely” awakened by a loud “rat-tat-tat-tat” around eight yesterday morning.

It startled me! I jumped up from the bed thinking it was Tim cutting the grass or doing something but when I peeked out the screen door to the deck…I saw nothing.

I almost turned to go back in…when I heard the sound again. It sounded like it was in my yard but where? And then I saw it. A big red-headed woodpecker flew up from my lower set of fences onto the high-walled fence where the morning glories are just starting to bloom.

It was a beautiful sight! That gorgeous woodpecker perched on the top of the fence right above a purple morning glory bloom. What a photo that would have been! But of course… I didn’t have my IPhone and by the time I ran back in the house to get it… the bird was gone.

I remembered Grandmother Wilson telling me something like… ‘to expect a visitor if you hear a woodpecker pecking a tree in your neighborhood.’ (Publisher Clearinghouse? One can only hope!)

The damage to the plank the woodpecker had been pecking was pretty intense…he obviously found grubs and other insects in the dead wood.

Symbolically…a woodpecker stands for opportunity. When I googled the significance one resource said:(Symbolic  Symbols – Avia)

When I hear the woodpecker knocking, I think of opportunity. You know the old saying “when opportunity knocks, answer the door.” That’s precisely what I’m driving at here.

Woodpeckers are extremely opportunistic themselves. Each tree is a door, revealing tender morsels of food (grubs and ants are their favorites). Other trees will yield against their beak-hammering to provide great mansions for their young.

When the woodpecker comes tapping into our awareness, it’s also a signal to use our heads. Just as the woodpecker uses its head (beak) to hammer out solutions (food, shelter), we too can use our intellect in finding solutions to our own barriers.

The symbolic meaning of woodpeckers also point to a need for creative vision. Being opportunistic, woodpeckers can see value everywhere, even in dead trees. Have you ditched an idea or given up on a project? The woodpecker may be trying to tell you to breathe new life into your project, just as they build new homes into dead trees.


Lately I have been surrounded by “creative vision”…in fact I found it in one of Anne’s paintings on display last Saturday at the Spring Art Show and Sale. There were various discussions going on at the same time as people meandered through the house…but I picked up on one conversation immediately.

Anne asked if anyone had seen the chapel in the woods in one picture that she never drew…at least not consciously. Here is her story…her mystery.

“One of the things I love (and fear) about painting with watercolor is its ability to flow, run, merge, bloom, settle, seep, cascade, etc. I have learned to manage the amount of water I use, depending on where I am in the process of a painting.

A juicy load of paint on a brush is apt to have a mind os its own, running where it will…I’ve had some very happy mistakes and well, some not so happy mistakes.

But sometimes in creating the smaller, darker details of a painting, using a much drier brush, magic happens as well. 

In my painting “Irish Wool” I had the best time creating the black-faced sheep, remembering hopping in and out of the car snapping photos as we traveled from Galway up to Kylemore Abby…miles and miles of pasture lands, lakes, etc. As I worked on the tree line in the upper left corner, I painted one tree, then the second. As I began the third I must have jiggled a bit, so I paused to clean the brush and reload the paint.

I couldn’t believe it as I looked down and saw the outline of what looked like a chapel next to that second tree! I looked again at my reference photo- no chapel-and back to the painting. I laughed at the God Wink, added the little door, and continued on with the painting.

The chapel just wanted to be there.”

Here is the original photo with no chapel

Here is Anne’s painting

Anne’s right- that little chapel in the woods did want to be there! A God Wink!

Isn’t the woodpecker and the chapel opportunities for us to renew our creative vision…use it as a wake-up call to tap into our own unique talents and stay true to the rhythm, the beat of our own drumming.

So until tomorrow…A quick memory…for many, if not most visitors going  to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope… If one is coming down from the mountains…and not careful… it is easy to completely miss the chapel… because in order to see it one must turn to the left or look in the rear view mirror to find it. There are no signs and the chapel truly is located ‘just around another bend’…one of dozens getting there.

So it does seem like magic…when one turns, blinks, and there it is waiting on us…it was my opportunity to start my life over by re-telling it and sharing it with others.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The “magic hour” for artists is right before the sun disappears behind the horizon- it is my favorite time to snap a photo of a lantern- dark enough to see the light and not too dark for the flash to go off ruining the picture.

*Don’t forget! Today is the first day of June! Say “Rabbit” and enjoy good  luck throughout the month. I had to get creative on this rabbit shot…borrowed the fishing pond from the fairy wheelbarrow and put little rabbit in the pond next to the frog. June is jumping in the ‘old water hole’ month!

No visitors have appeared yet…but I am on high alert…especially for lots of people, flowers, and vans with Publishing Clearinghouse on the sides, ringing the doorbell.

I did get the cutest, creative picture frame in the mail from Honey…which I promptly added to my flower/fairy table. Thank you Honey!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Each Tree is a Door to Opportunity

  1. bcparkison says:

    Woodpeckers…I’ll be looking for the visitors too.


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