Is there really such a thing as Easy Street?

Easy Street sign with trees

I always imagined that Easy Street was this place…

where faucets never dripped, lawns never got weeds, the houses never required painting, all the neighbors got along and frequently had BBQ’s, and pets never defecated. Well, it just so happens that one time I did actually find myself on Easy Street.

It was a hot and steamy July day in a small town in South Carolina. This was many, many years ago (15?20?) and I was inventorying trees* on the city’s rights of way. As a consulting Arborist/Forester, it is something I have spent a lot of time doing over the last 30 years. Now, as the case,  “hot” and “steamy” prior to July is not necessary when talking about the southeastern U.S., but this particular day one seemed worse than most.

I had a friend helping and it was getting late; we were trying to finish all the streets in this one neighborhood before calling it a day. As we rounded the corner from one street to the next, low and behold, there was only one street left. As we approached this last street, we both saw the street sign at the same time; we turned towards each other and gave each other a high-five.

We made it. Except …

Talk about two jubilant people. The day was hot and it had been long, but at last we had finally made it to, you guessed it, “Easy Street.”

How appropriate for the last street of the day. There were houses with no trees on one side and the other side of the street there were no houses at all. I almost shouted “and it’s a for real easy street! We will knock this out in no time.” (I realize that as an arborist, I shouldn’t show such excitement about a street with no trees, but the heat had been working on me). As we got about half-way down the block, we realized that although the other side of the street didn’t have any houses, it had lots of trees on the rights of way. The trees were hidden by a thick mass (a small jungle actually) of smaller vegetation such as briars, poison ivy and lord-only-knows what else. By the time we had finished fighting with the jungle, it was dark, and we looked as if we had been in a fight with a mountain lion. Needless to say, our time on Easy Street turned out to be anything but! However, it was the feeling of success at achieving what we had set out to do that made being on Easy Street worthwhile.

Where is your Easy Street.

1) Believe: First, you have to believe that Easy Street really exists which means changing your mind set and stop ascribing to thoughts such as:

  • No pain, no gain
  • You have to work hard to get to the top
  • You have to pay your dues
  • If you want to succeed, you have to give blood, sweat, and tears
  • Only the strong survive

Small log cabin in mountains2) What does your Easy Street look like?

Are there big houses or small cabins?

  • Is your house the only house or are there many?
  • Are there trees, or maybe a pasture or rows of crops?
  • Do you have street parties or is there a quiet place you can sit and read in silence?

Oddly enough, in reflection, I think that the Easy Street that I was on that hot July day so many years ago in South Carolina was my Easy Street!

Here’s what I have since discovered: 

  • The open side of the street with no trees: this represented the opportunities that were and are available to me. This showed me how to reflect on my circumstances.
  • The other side of the street had plenty of trees, and as an arborist, they represent my livelihood and the many gifts and blessings I currently have.
  • The briar patches: The great humbling factor. They build strength and remind us to be thankful of the non-briar patches we have in our lives.

We all have a place that could be an Easy Street. Maybe it’s a house, maybe an apartment. How about a log cabin or even a Yurt? Whatever it is, if you are easier on yourself – and you look at the opportunities, solutions and character-building situations that abound, you may find that that place you believe in can be reachableIt just all depends on what your Easy Street looks like to you. Just know it exists, and on it, happiness abounds. Hope to see ya there soon!

Take Action:

Take a sheet of paper and write down or use pictures or symbols of what your Easy Street looks like. A fun exercise is to get a big pad of large drawing paper and tape it to the wall. Don’t get frustrated. Remember this is a game, a fun game at that. As your life experiences change, and this happens daily whether you realize it or not, your Easy Street will change as well.

*Tree InventoryWalking the streets and collecting information on trees growing on the city’s rights of way. This generally extends 10 – 20 feet beyond the pavement. Information collected includes the type (species) of tree, diameter, height, condition, and maintenance needs such as pruning. In addition to streets it is often done on other city property as well such as parks and public buildings such as libraries and City Hall.
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