I noticed a tree I hadn’t seen the other day on the mail route.
I drive around tree-lined roads every day. There are a lot of trees on my route…but this was a tree that I hadn’t noticed before.
I don’t know if it was a case of the new leaves coming in just right…or what it was…but this tree on this day really caught my attention.
It was a healthy tree….strong and well-formed…a normal tree in every regard….until I followed the trunk up and noticed something different about this tree I’d just seen completely for the first time.
This tree, about 30 feet up, jutted sideways at a crazy angle. It was more than 90 degrees…it almost looked like it was something like maybe 103 degrees. I couldn’t really get an accurate reading…I didn’t have my protractor with me at the time…but this tree was kind of messed up and…strange.
I stared at this tree in amongst the hundreds of other trees lining the road for a moment (I was on a mission after all….I was delivering the mail …) and wondered “what the heck happened to that tree?!”.
All of a sudden, it hit me. I knew the answer…
That tree had done “GROWED BACK WRONG”.
It looked like maybe at some point it might have broken or bent towards the top…but it didn’t kill it, it just grew back kind of funny…grew back kind of wrong.
With a couple of hours on my hands (it was early in the mail route when I saw the tree), I started to think (as I drove on to deliver the rest of the mail, of course…I wasn’t just sitting staring at this crooked tree) about how it might relate to the people I’ve known.
Most everyone I know has had something weird or bad happen to them.
That’s a given…you live, you get hit with something strange eventually. It’s hard to avoid.
Some people seem to get knocked around and just spring back up. You can’t tell they were ever in a storm.
Some people break…and stay broken. They can’t be fixed and they aren’t going to heal. That’s a sad thing to see.
Some of them break…and “grow back wrong” to some degree.
It’s strange to see someone who looks strong and whole obsess over that one damaged area that they can still see.
It’s like they’re some kind of mighty oak….branches spreading, full of healthy leaves….and all they can see is that one damaged limb that remains from bad times before.
I guess that what I was thinking about was how different we all are…we can be damaged but grow back to be healthy again…or we can put on our bravest face and grow straight and tall….and it’s only at the end that people find out that “tree was holler …all holler inside”.
Sometimes we just start breaking… and keep on breaking more.
As far as I know, trees don’t get self obsessed. They don’t visit psychiatrists to get to the bottom of their problems, they don’t ponder why they feel so bad. If they break, they either return to soil or they heal and grow. Sometimes they grow back wrong…sometimes, from all outward appearances, you can’t tell anything ever happened at all.
But if they are going to survive after trauma…they are going to grow. They might grow more slowly…but they are going to do what they can to thrive again.
All they know is to grow.
Man….I wish I could be more like a tree sometimes.