What Has This Tree Endured?

Posted on: June 3, 2014

Humans suffer injuries every day. Spend an hour in your local emergency room some day and you’ll see broken arms, head wounds, perhaps even something more grave and life threatening.  Sometimes a human wound can heal, sometimes not so well.

Many of us know people who’s injured parts never work quite the same after their accidents. Hands that just won’t grasp a pencil, legs that won’t bend, hearts that can’t handle stairs any longer.  Doctors often say that people who are in good health, eat well, don’t smoke, and exercise are more likely to heal better than those that do.

Do these same principals hold true in nature as well? On a recent trip, I encountered a tree living in one of the most adverse conditions imaginable. This hundred year old oak tree is living street side, it’s roots surely snaking beneath the pavement on one side, the sidewalk on the other.

What this tree has enduredThis tree has clearly been clipped a number of times by many a car. There are visible chunks at varying stages of repair in the side of the tree. And yet…. Pavement, wounds, pollution, compaction and road salt aside…. This tree defies the odds and lives.  No, not just lives…. Thrives.

Another great example of trees thriving when all else fails is Hiroshima, Japan. When the bombs were dropped during World War II on the center of town, nearly everything was leveled. Life began anew…. With one exception. There were several Gingko trees located near the blast site that budded the next season and that remain today. Scars from the blast are still visible today… And yet, the Ginkos live on… Thriving.

In the 1964 book, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, a tree loves a boy. The trees first gives his apples and then his branches and then his trunk all in the name of love for his boy. Even without his fruit, his branches, and even his trunk….still he lived.  No, thrived “And the tree was happy”.


Written By Ronda Roemmelt