Shubenacadie Tree and Teacup Rock- We will, we will mourn you
Post-tropical Storm Fiona left a wrath of change both big and small. Local coverage here in Nova Scotia highlighted the loss of the “Shubenacadie Tree”. Estimated to be around 300 years old, this tree stood alone in the middle of a field on private property but was visible from Highway 102 in an area between Halifax and Truro, hence the moniker. It will be missed by many as it stood as a local landmark to many and a personal symbol to others.
In Prince Edward Island, another local landmark, “Teacup Rock”, located at Thunder Cove Beach, has been swept away by Fiona. It too has received a lot of coverage in the media as it was quite a tourist attraction thanks in part to social media.
Losing our beloved landmarks diminishes our sense of self. It may even stir up emotions of our own mortality. Afterall, the tree was standing for several centuries and who knows how long it took for Teacup Rock to be formed by the elements.
So, what is the big deal about the loss of one tree and one rock formation amongst the many environmental losses due to Fiona? It boils down to a sudden change from the familiar and the transition that needs to be made to adjust to their losses.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines change as “to make different in some particular” and transition as “a period or phase in which such a change or shift is happening”.
Transitions vary depending on the intensity of the change. Emotional, cognitive, and spiritual growth happens during the process of transition.
“In Frankenstein, Mary Shelly wrote, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
Change can be difficult to process because it can challenge how we think. People usually react to change in four stages. These, like grief, are not linear. The stages are:
1. Shock and disorientation
2. Anger and other emotional responses
3. Coming to terms with the “new normal”
4. Acceptance and moving forward
In summary, we need time to adjust to the “new normal” of not seeing them there in their usual places. We need to recognize the disorientation. It can be a time of mourning. Give into the emotion and validate the emotion. It is ok and healthy to go through the stages of grief. Eventually, you will embrace the new normal.
In conclusion, be aware of the impact of any change on your life. Identify and feel the losses. Give yourself and others permission to grieve the losses.