Monday, May 13, 2013

A Beautiful Tree

I recently spent a night in the backcountry and happened to notice some of the alders that were growing nearby, including one that my hammock was hung from.  Now alders are generally fairly straight trees, with small branches.  A mature alder looks something like a power pole with branches.  And many of them in the neighborhood of my camp did have that look.  But the one I focused on mostly, and hung from, bore little resemblance to a power pole.

This tree has not had an easy time of it.  It appears to have been hit and broken by at least a couple of falling trees.  It has had to compete for light with some larger douglas firs in the near vicinity.  It is covered in places with a thick carpet of moss.  The river has partially undermined it, leaving roots exposed.

But in the end we have here a tree that has endured all the hardship that the forest and river have thrown at it, and has endured.  A tree that has character.  One that got my attention in the midst of a company of straight and tall candidates for power poles.

I really like this tree.  Because in spite of being broken, burdened and undermined, it is beautiful  Of all the alders around my camp, that is the one I would choose to have planted in my yard.

I am sure you have known someone who is very much like this tree.  They may have suffered tragedy in their lives, may be burdened with a heavy load, may have experienced the storms of life.  But in spite of all that, they stand strong.  Every time they get knocked down they get back up again.  No complaints.  No pity parties.  No sulking.  Just continuing to grow and make the most of all that comes along.

I don't know about you, but that is the kind of person I want to have in my life, showing me the way.  And it is the kind of person I want to be.

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