Shortly after they finished the construction of the interchange between highway 74 and I-85, completed all the landscaping, and removed all of the orange cones, someone lost control and ran down one of the newly planted cedar trees. For along time it languished there half in and half out of the ground, surrounded by the tire tracks of an 18 wheeler, pointing at some unknown point on the distant horizon. Eventually the tire tracks disappeared and grass grew back, but the little dead tree lay there in a depressing display of brown branches and falling bark. Since I drove past it every day eventually sensory adaptation set in and I didn’t notice the poor little tree any more. At some point the state got tired of cutting around it and cut the remains down leaving only a small stump as a marker to the trees presence. In time I forgot the tree ever existed. Until today that is.
Today I drove down the onramp and began to merge on to the interstate when something caught my eye. To my left there was a small hint of green against the brown winter landscape. The little tree had, from some internal reserve of fortitude, sent out a branch and it has begun to show green. I was amazed. I remembered back to a time where it was nothing more than tire ruts and dead wood. Now life has sprung from the grave.
As I looked at it I was intrigued by the resilience of the little tree. By all rights it should be nothing more than a small stump. But now, at least until the big mowers come back through and cut it down, it has made a comeback. Not a huge epic struggle from behind that inspires millions to do great things, but a small gesture of unyielding strength. No matter what life throws at us, no matter how hard the situation and no matter how bad things get there is always hope for regaining some small part of what was lost. If we can take a lesson from the little tree and show resilience, stiffen our backs and set our heels we can survive anything. Just stay the course and do what you are supposed to. For the little tree it was growing branches, for us it is growing period. When we stop growing we are done.
So take a lesson from the little tree. Never give up. IF you hold out, and don’t fall out, you will find out.