Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Strength of a Tree Lies in Its Ability to Bend

The roots of a tree may run very deep into the earth, or they may be shallow but far reaching. In either case, the root system is what keeps the tree standing when the conditions surrounding it are contradictory to it's integrity. When gusts come upon it the tree may sway. The gusts may be so strong that they challenge the tree to resist, but the tree knows. If the tree but surrenders, for a moment, allowing the weight and force of the wind to flow through it, it bends. It goes with the flow. When rain falls from the sky and the temperature plummets, the rain may turn to ice, and freeze upon the branches. But the tree will remain. It may be weighed down, by the burden of the ice, but its root system will hold it firm. Indeed if the ice persists, and a branch is overburdened, it may need to shed that limb, to sacrifice it back to the earth, which will in turn recycle it, to enrich the roots once again. But the tree remains. In the spring, when the conditions are right, a new branch will emerge, possibly where the old one was, possibly somewhere new. But the tree will sprout once again, for it is in the tree's nature to grow. There will be times when the tree is dormant. When it awaits the warmth and gentle rains of spring. It must be patient during the cold winter months, and stand strong, for it is during these months that the new buds are forming, deep within the essence of the tree. The seeds if you will, the potential for growth. And its growth is inevitable, for it is in the nature of a tree to grow.

"Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail."

Lao Tzu (c.604 - 531 B.C.)
Tao Te Ching

No comments: