One of the things I love most about spring is seeing everything come back to life. But, if we think about that a little more, none of the plants actually die, do they? No, the flowers and trees just change seasons. From the outside, they lose their petals and leaves, but from within, they are fully alive and obediently going through a season.
Let’s marinate on that a little…and even compare a tree’s life to that of our own lives as humans.
#1 The Roots
Have you ever checked out the roots of a tree? Talk about wildly designed and massive in strength, right? What I enjoy the most is when I see the roots of a tree pushing through a cement sidewalk. I explain this to my kids as a sign of the persistence and strength of a tree against outside obstacles trying to hold it down.
What you may not know is that the roots need three things: water, oxygen and good soil. Under ideal soil and moisture conditions, roots can grow to more than 20 feet (6 meters) deep. Wow! The roots anchor the tree into the ground, keeping the tree stable and straight and allow the absorption of water and nutrients from the soil for the tree’s growth, development and repair.
I parallel these requirements to our lives as humans in the following way…if we don’t have love, nourishment and support, it’s hard to live our best lives. We aren’t stable and don’t stand straight. Without these essentials, life is certainly less than great…we don’t grow like we should.
#2 The Leaves
What I love about the leaves of a tree is their color and how they are extensions of a tree’s identity and personality. I often tell my kids the trees are clapping when the wind blows through them. The major purpose of the leaves is to absorb the sunlight’s energy and make it into the oxygen that we breathe. Leaves contain chlorophyll, a pigment that absorbs light. Chlorophyll absorbs all the red and blue wavelengths of light, but it reflects green wavelengths, making the leaf look green. Isn’t that just pure awesomeness?!
Again, drawing the comparison to our lives as humans, I see our “leaves” as our (figurative) arms reaching out into the world. We are pursuing our dreams and reaching goals, and if done right, we can receive energy in return. Especially, if we are “reaching” for the right things…reflecting from the appropriate sources, we can receive the right energy we need to produce our “air,” giving us life.
#3 The Trunk
Understanding the trunk of a tree is key to understanding how a tree works, and a primary reason trees are so useful. The trunk is the part of a tree that connects the leafy crown with its roots. Roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, which are then transported up the tree trunk in cells that act much like pipes. This allows the leaves to get water and nutrients that are necessary for the manufacturing of food from light energy (photosynthesis). Food made in the leaves is then transported down to the roots and to other parts of the tree for growth. The “pipes” in the trunk are known as vascular tissue. It is this vascular tissue which we exploit to make paper and other forest products. WOW!
The trunk sounds a lot like our human physical bodies. They are our vessels here on earth. We can’t do much without our bodies and everything in it. Our body houses our organs and transports all of our food and makes it into energy for our body to live.
Looking around, trees are a testimony of endurance, determination and victory. They have been around for 370 million years. And how many times have you seen a tree shrink up and die? Maybe you’ve seen one cut down by people or taken out by a storm. But the truth is trees are fierce. They are stronger than any of us give them credit for. As we walk down the street, passing them by, not spending more than a second of our lives marveling in their beauty. Yet, if we looked away from our phones long enough, and basked in the glory of nature’s beautiful superhero, we can start to see the resemblance in ourselves and our lives. They remind us of a life worth living and fighting for.
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