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Can a resurrection fern help us get through this pandemic? By Dana Forbes


We all have moments that define us, change us, and reroute our course. Some of the most impactful moments are traumatic ones and often something that you suffer through alone, like a breakup or being bullied. After one of these moments in my life, I was driving around and I heard a song by Iron and Wine called Resurrection Fern. The lyrics were left up to my interpretation and made me curious about the title so I looked up what a resurrection fern was. Turns out it’s a real thing, a fern.  After reading the definition, something resonated with me. “A resurrection fern is this remarkable plant that can lose up to 97% of its water during extreme drought. It shrivels up into a graying brown clump of leaves appearing to be dead but when given water again it comes back to life and looks green, healthy, alive. While it never actually dies, it gets its name from this apparent “resurrection”. In contrast, many plants can lose as little as 10% of their water and no amount of water will bring them back.” Wildlife Guide. (n.d.)

Right now you are probably thinking, “why is she telling us about plants?” In my opinion, people are similar. Our response to the events in our lives can impact us more so than the event itself. The word response comes from the word responsibility. Taking responsibility for how we react to certain things in life is why some of us give up easily, while others persevere.

Another interesting tidbit about the resurrection fern is that it needs a host plant or other substrate on which to anchor. “This fern is a type of epiphytic fern, meaning that it grows on top of other plants or structures and that it reproduces by spores, not seeds. And while the resurrection fern grows on top of other plants, they do not steal nutrients or water from this host plant.” Wildlife Guide. (n.d.)

Wow, now you’re probably worried this is a botany lesson, however, if you think about those people who can get through some of the most challenging things and quickly bounce back, like the fern, are the same people who have strong support systems within their communities.

What is occurring in the world right now could possibly be one of the most traumatic things you will experience in your lifetime. One of us may lose someone close to you as a result of being sick, many of us will suffer grave financial distress, and all of us will suffer psychological and emotional hardship. As a country (world), we are all going through this together. Now narrow that down further to our CrossFit community and we are REALLY going through it together. While we may all have different fears regarding- perhaps getting sick, losing a job, dreading the long term impact on the economy, or not being able to be with loved ones when they need us most; fear is fear, trauma is trauma, sadness is sadness, and we are ALL familiar with those things right now.

I consider myself so lucky in my life- as a CEO of a non-profit,  mother of two amazing kids (well 1.5), Gym owner, Steamboat Springs resident with my not so svelat dog. When I reflect on the parts of my life that have felt most successful to me, I often come to realize that had I not had my son when I was just 17, I doubt I would be where I am today. I believe my work ethic originated at a young age when I had no choice but to provide for someone other than myself. In my quest as a leader, I often find myself trying to inspire motivation in others, and truthfully, I have never really felt successful in that. Turns out you cannot teach or tell someone to be motivated. Motivation comes as a result of an event in your life, usually, one that is traumatic, unexpected, and extremely uncomfortable.

I am not going to lie, I am pretty tired of people talking about the “good” that will come from COVID-19, because from my seat, I struggle to agree. But what I do know from experience is about what it takes to survive and prioritize my health as a young mom of 18, working out alone in my basement when my kids were small because I could not afford a gym membership. I know the trauma of having a child so young motivated me to stay focused on nutrition even when I could barely pay the electric bill during the lows in the economy. Not only was I forced to be motivated, but I tried my best to embody GRIT as well. “Grit is not just a simple elbow-grease term for rugged persistence. It is an invisible display of endurance that lets you stay in an uncomfortable place, work hard to improve upon a given interest and then do it again and again”.~Sarah Lewis

My hope is that when this community comes back together in a month or so we are more motivated than ever to do what we need to, to support health and wellness not just at our gym, but in this town, so our greater community of Steamboat Springs can be ready for all that life throws our way. I hope each and every one of you is there because you had this community to support you and vice versa through these challenging times. I have always wanted a tattoo of a resurrection fern but they are kind of ugly, therefore I opted for a single tattoo on my spine, just one word in all caps…UNBROKEN. I was not built to break and neither were you.


I miss your faces, your spirit, and your resilience. Stay strong family!

Love, Dana