More about Trees

I’ve been thinking about trees a lot lately. For all their beauty, grandeur, and life-sustaining qualities for us humans, the thing that most impresses me about these remarkable specimens is their sheer tenacity.

Nature confounds and amazes me. Plants can be so finicky, demanding just the right kind of soil, the right number of daylight hours, the right amount of water. But what’s right for one tree is wrong for another. Magnolias prefer acid soil while maples do just fine in alkaline. Willows like it wet; palms prefer dry. Some like it hot; others are happy in cooler climates.

But the one thing all trees need is roots, and roots need soil. Yet, I’ve seen trees thriving in the most inhospitable places, defying all the odds. Like this baby rhododendron that has somehow taken root on a boulder.

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And look at this bristlecone. Maybe when it was a wee thing five thousand years ago, the rock it now stands on was rich, loamy soil, but that hasn’t been true for ages. Yet the tree keeps on. (Even though it doesn’t look it, it’s still alive).

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Then there are these trees clinging to the side of a rock cliff, almost as if they’re suspended in mid-air. How do they do it? Really, they shouldn’t survive in these conditions. Nevertheless, they persist.

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Life is complicated, and we humans are often plagued by complex physical and psychological conditions. Sometimes it’s not enough to say, “Just hang in there.” Still, when times are tough, it seems we could take a lesson from trees.

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