Friday, November 2, 2012

Better Than Trees

We traveled first to the Redwoods, because it's on the way to Southern California. At least from here, and that's the only way we can travel -- from here.

While there I saw this:

This is a TREE. I know, without my handy explanation you'd have no clue. It's a big freakin' tree. Here's the sign that was next to the tree:

It's not just any tree. It's an IMMORTAL TREE. At least so far. People have tried to cut it down (loggers, who apparently do that sort of thing), it's been struck by lightning, survived a forest fire, and a flood. 

And I thought of a friend of mine who has had a particularly rough year. I have had those myself, and am nothing if not sympathetic. Sometimes everything, or a lot of things, can seem to conspire against us, as if there's someone in a back room pulling levers and laughing maniacally whenever something goes wrong for us. And maybe it's not levers, but pushing buttons. Whatever. I too have had bad years (or decades). 

And I thought:

1) This tree has withstood fire, floods, crazed loggers (or rational loggers, I don't know), lightning, and it's still here. It's still standing, and while it has some scars, it's still here.

2) My friend, who is way smarter than a tree, and has a much more engaging personality, and is much more fun to hang out with, is still here. For that matter, so am I. Even I am smarter than a tree. 

3) I'm not saying it takes smarts to outwit a tree, but let's be honest: it helps. Trees are not known for their intellectual abilities. This particular tree is known for still being there, no matter what life has thrown at it. It still stands, maybe because it doesn't know any better than to just continue doing what it's doing. Which is being a tree.

4) I'm using a numbering method just because I want to. 

5) Sometimes we continue being even with all the fires, floods, hurricanes, loggers, politicians, whatever. And we're better than trees! Even big ones like this:

(See where the ax is? That's where someone tried to chop it down. And the fish? Flood up to there.)

We may not live as long (most certainly not), but we're at least as strong as trees, even when it seems like life has it in for us, when it's all so overwhelming and . . . icky. My friend is strong, and way better than a tree. I can't put a sign up next to her saying everything she's withstood, but that's because she keeps moving and isn't a tree. 

But I saw this tree, and I thought of her, and I thought of all of us who are at least as strong as a tree, and how we keep going no matter what life throws at us. Sometimes things happen that we just have to get through, like a flood, and we do, we just keep going and we get through it, and then things get better. Sometimes there's a flood and a fire and a dozen other things all at once, but they stop, they're all finite, and we go on.

We're better than trees too, because we're more fun at parties.

Not me, personally, but some people. 


  1. Yeah - it's the logger that almost gets me. Now I have a new affirmation - I may not be a perfect (wife, employee, mom, friend, ninja...) but I'm a better (singer, ninja, quilter, scrabble player,...) than a tree!

  2. Let's not be harsh on loggers, they sing cute songs. These are known as logger rhythms.

    Great piece, but I am surprised people can walk right up to the trunk: this tends to compact the soil, close in--or so we believe in Oz.

  3. I love a good logger rhythm.

    We're free spirits here. And Redwoods like compacted soil. (I just made that up, but it's not like anyone's paying attention, right?)

  4. Why do the Redwood trees live long?
    Because they never stopped from Growing.
    Humans have to do that through constant learning new things, skills and be ever so optimistic.
    Jay Shah