As I lookout into the field, I see a lone tree, an oak, whose branches are as wide as it is tall. I think about this tree and how it is much like mankind. A tree can be planted anywhere much like a person can be born in any place in this world. How it develops is up to its surroundings and will aid in its development. If it is out in the open field, like the tree in question, there is no excuse for it to not grow up, become strong, reach out in any direction, growing to the sky, taking in all the light it can, much like a person who grows and learns all that he or she can from all that he or she is and has been exposed to. With this light, it grows. With the moisture and nutrients from its base, it grows. Just like the foundation we have been instilled with during out youth, it makes us strong. It gives us a good base to grow upon. The tree becomes useful in its older age, while providing shade for the animal kingdom, providing shelter for the birds and squirrels. We, as humans, also become useful in our older age for those around us. We are the protection from the world to those who come to us.
Like the tree, we grow. We change. A limb may break, or a leaf may fall, but this is a part of life. The tree goes through the elements. The heat. The cold. The wind. The rain. At the time, it feels alone, but without it all, it wouldn’t be what it is. It wouldn’t grow. It wouldn’t change. It wouldn’t become stronger. Every season comes and goes. And we know this because it’s a part of life. We forget that these times will be over, but they too will pass. The good times and the bad. The wind, the rain, the heat, the cold. These conditions may seem like there is no end, but they always end. Because of the seasons, we, like the tree, show our age, whether it be through our actions, our behavior or even simply through our appearance, we change. We’re supposed to. It, like the seasons, is an inescapable part of life.
And when our time is over, sometimes our memory is all that others have, but we too can be like the tree. We are known for what we leave behind. A tree hewn in its prime can be made into other things which will last the longer than it ever would as a living entity. The human soul is sometimes the same. Those taken in their prime will always be remember as great if not greater than they really were. The love we express in those times between birth and death can be felt and sorely missed by our loved ones after we are gone. The memories we make last longer than our bodies ever could, just as the wood from the tree will last longer than the tree itself after the living tree has seen its demise. Our effect on mankind may be minimal in our own point of view, but to those left behind, the loss we leave is larger than the space we filled while we were here. Just as the tree may not seem to serve its purpose while standing with others in the forest, it will be appreciated more when it is taken from the forest and turned into wood or paper or the constructs for a home…which is much like mankind, we will be appreciated more after our time has come to an end.
The tree in every stage of its life has something about it that we can observe and apply to our own existence. It’s up to us, to be able to stop and observe what that may be.
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