A Yard Full of Sticks; A Life Full of Trials

By Mental Health Therapist Karen Stull 

October in Florida brings many storms. Sometimes that means more to clean up in our yards and driveways. Likewise, the storms that come and go in our lives leave their own messes behind.

Storms can also bring beauty, in a dramatic sky or tumultuous waves. Accepting both the delights and the trials of life is the chief work of our journey as parents and teachers and caregivers and humans.

We can prepare for storms, but we can’t prevent them. This poem arrived as I cleared my own yard one day this month while thinking about some of those things.

A Yard Full of Sticks

I went out to gather sticks

after the wind last night

I forgot to put my shoes on

I thought it would only take a minute

Maybe just that big one

I can see from my window

and that other one in the driveway

But there are more

and my socks are sinking

in the sandy dirt

More and more sticks

more and more dirt on my socks

There are too many

I can’t get them all


My yard is full of trees

Oaks, live and grand

They give me shade

and when I look up

they filter the sky with Impressionist views

The wind blows often

at this time of year

and the trees shed their dead

There will always be sticks

in my yard

I will put on my shoes next time

but I will never get them all

Karen Stull is the supervisor for school based mental health services. The Florida Center for Early Childhood’s School-Based Mental Health Program is a partnership between the Florida Center, the Sarasota County School District and Community Foundation of Sarasota County. It meant to keep high-risk children in school and help them meet their academic milestones through multi-generational therapy for the students and their families.