OVER THE PAST YEAR, AND PERHAPS THE PAST FOUR YEARS, many of us have occasionally struggled with feelings of being unmoored—old verities lost or questioned, a sense of being tossed and blown by ill winds we cannot control. Trees, of course, deal with similar issues. Luckily they have roots. As do we. And I believe that trees are remarkable teachers, as we make our way through life. From my book, ‘Paddle Whispers’:
“Growing seems to be a common trait among living things. But I wonder if anyone’s ever done it better than an old pine. If you’re a pine, growth seems to have a lot to do with roots, with making the best of where you are and where you got started. Sometimes that’s just a bare bones, blustery, rocky outcrop of a place, inhospitable, with little soil or shelter, nurturing or encouragement. It may take a long time, but you somehow come to grips with it, this starting place. You reach and reach, stretching needy roots over naked granite, through tiny cracks, down into crevices. Until you finally find the footholds, the stability and sustenance you need. Then, someday, somehow, you transcend… growing up while at the same time growing down, and growing out. Growing through all kinds of disasters. Growing THROUGH them.
And that’s all there is to it, it seems. Grow. Down. Out. Up. Don’t stop, just grow. Simple enough. But maybe it’s the hardest, most important thing in the world. Maybe everything depends upon it. Maybe the whole world depends upon it.”
(Text and drawing from Paddle Whispers. Douglas Wood, University of Minnesota Press)