Only a Sapling

Many factors take part in the creation of a sturdy tree. Trees could be said to have quite an easy going life. They’ve responsibilities but what they must achieve during their time can be done right where they sprung from the dirt. While they do seem to have it easy, from the minute a seed sprouts to the end of a trees life it is faced with life or death experiences and most times if it pulls the short straw out of the lot it is going to suffer as it heads straight toward an untimely fate.

A young sapling reaches from the muck beneath the canopy and is relying on luck for a ray of sunshine to leak from the leaves above. If it is fortunate enough to have sprung up in a proper position to acquire what it must to survive, its life goes on. It slowly gains ground as it’s own parents sway to and fro from above completely covering the forest floor with shade, stifling its upward growth for decades. The young trees life has just begun at only a few feet tall and up until now but he has had it quite easy but he has much to learn.

Lightning cracks like a whip in the night and blasts one of his parents branches, sending a volatile hail of bark and ember across the forest floor. The dry timber beneath his feet turns an unfamiliar and frighteningly bright orange as small kindling turns to ash around him, scorching him in the process. His brother is not so fortunate and he can do nothing but watch as his dear relative is engulfed in a blaze. Morning comes and all is silent once more.

The young tree realizes that the winds from the storm were viciously blowing him. He was left stunned as he watched his own relative come undone before him and had not noticed that he had been blown completely sideways by the wind that was once so comforting to his leaves and branches. His small but stout trunk ached in pain from such a contortion. A dangerous place this is he thought as he readied himself for the unpredictable day ahead.

In the story above the young tree is faced with difficulties from a very young age. Consider taking a second to go back and review the many stressors laid out for you that the young tree experienced in that short amount of time. While these experiences may be frightening and uncomfortable for the tree while he is going through it, sometimes even leaving him in pain after the fact, they are the very experiences that allow a young tree to develop itself into a tall and study mature tree.

In the moment, if the young tree could, it might wonder why its parents are holding him back. They’ve shaded him to prevent his growth in his eyes but unbeknownst to him, if they did not he would have no chance at survival later in life. While his growth is stifled the young tree is able to develop an extremely dense core. This core which took so long to create, sometimes a hundred years even, will allow him to withstand what is to come in the future more easily. A storm that would have knocked him clean over to his roots stands no chance with such a protective development.

The winds that tossed him over like a wet noodle during the night also contribute to his core development. It left the tree in pain as micro-tears appeared in his trunk but it was only a temporary pain. The development of such tearing may prove to save his life in the future as it contributes to an even more well rounded foundation. One day his parents above him shall pass on and the sunlight that they held back from him will reach his many branches and leaves. He races all of the other life around him as he soaks up the newfound sunlight and his foundation propels him to the top of the canopy faster than any of the other competing forest life around him.

If we take a moment to consider the life that exists around us every day we can sometimes derive meaningful lessons that can be applied to our own lives. Human development works much the same. If we have a completely stress free life on easy street we will not develop the foundation we may require for the challenges that life surely has in store for us. A more challenging life can sometimes prove to pay off in the end. There are unique situations that we each experience during our time here and it is important that we take the time to look back at the things we have gone through to see if there are any lessons to be learned. They are gifts to us if properly received.

The tree cannot wish challenges upon itself but as humans we can. I encourage those of you that are reading to allow yourselves to enter challenging situations. Emotionally and physically difficult scenarios are the ones in which we learn the most about ourselves and others. Through these experiences we can develop a dense core that will prove to be useful as we go forward in life.

I wish for you happiness, success, and growth. Take care.

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