The Secret Life of Trees

I’m know I’m not the first to appreciate the metaphor of the tree, but every season I admire them more.

I like their root-to-seed circle of life and the history we trace through the circles in their trunk.

I admire their bend-don’t-break attitude, their posture, and the dignified way they welcome strangers to nest on their branches and to burrow deep into their heartwood.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the secret to their strength, how the best and healthiest trees face challenges and use them to grow deeper roots. I know people like that — men and women who have absorbed life’s deepest body blows and emerged even stronger and more deeply rooted in their family, their community and the world around.

While I really love all trees (as evidenced by how often I write about them) I am particularly drawn to the lone tree, the one that stands with unassuming grace between two fields. I think about all that’s going on below the surface of that tree — the way it protects against erosion and stands firm against all the elements, and I know and admire people like that too.

So, on the days I might wish for a life without pain or struggle, I think about how necessary they are, how they force our roots to grow a little deeper, and our branches to reach toward the sun.

A shadow selfie of me admiring a tree Saturday night. I like how that somewhat diminutive tree casts a long shadow, holds its place between two bean fields, and strands strong and proud.
I admire all trees, but the lone trees especially catch my eye.
A little companionship can be beautiful as well.
I caught this beautiful sunset between trees Saturday night and thought about all the lessons we can learn from both. (P.S. I’m not even mad about the airplane photobomb because the sky can teach us lessons as well.)
I saw this stump on the streets of New York last week and I thought it was pretty hilarious. Trees have great senses of humor too.

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