Trees as an analogy to people

Spring has sprung here in the Valley of the Sun, bringing flowers, leaves, bugs, weeds, snakes… 

The trees growing new leaves highlights an issue we have with specific plants here—they have dead branches from the winter.

Some trees that grow well here aren’t frost-tolerant, and after an especially cold winter, it’s common to see trees green and full of life closer to the trunk, surrounded by a halo of dead branches.

I got to thinking about these trees as an analogy to people, where the frost might be anything heavy—loss of people, toxic relationships, living through a pandemic, a serious illness, etc. 

In our bootstrapper culture, where we completely negate our actual real need for community, I could easily say, “Just like the trees, we need to rebuild ourselves from the inside out.” Do it yourself. Happiness is an inside job. Happiness is a  choice! And on and on.

There’s truth to it. (I’d argue that the interior life—including chemical balances—contributes substantially to how one reacts to and lives through one of those heavy events in the first place.)

But it disregards everything else the tree has at its disposal: a good root system where it has access to water and nutrients, as well as warmer weather and ample sunshine. Maybe ground cover that helps retain moisture in hot and dry weather.

If people had a good root system, access to physical and emotional water and nutrients, access to literal and metaphorical sunshine with pleasant weather, it would be substantially easier for them to grow and thrive from the inside out.

Whose root system are you part of? Who do you offer sunshine to?

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