Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tough Love

Over the past year, I have cared for twenty-one little potted trees so they could develop a stronger root system. Fall is the ideal time to disturb the roots and allow them to take hold of the damp ground. So, a few days ago, in the cool, thick fog, with shovel in hand, all  trees were set in place on our property. It’s going to be tough love for these saplings. With soil comprised of clay, rocks, and roots from mature trees, they will need to fight for every inch of solid ground and forge their own space. They must also adapt to the ever present need to change in order to battle torrential rains, the snows of winter, the heat of summer, and munching rabbits and deer. You may be wondering why anyone would even bother.

As I wandered the property searching for a place to strike my shovel, it dawned on me that I wasn’t merely planting little trees; I was planting hope⎯hope for the future. If all goes well, by spring they will be on their way slowly spreading their roots. It will take a number of years for them to achieve their true growth potential, but that is what hope is all about. Since we will probably move sooner rather than later, I won’t see these trees grow into the lovely specimens they are, and that’s okay. I would not plant them if I did not hope they had a chance to somehow thrive and grow.

Why bother? Because we all need the glimmer of hope in our lives. If something has disturbed your root system, that is the signal to change, thrive and grow. It's not easy, but like these little trees of hope, we must create our own space, forge a strong root system and adapt to whatever comes our way. Each one of us struggles with some form of tough love, but tough love is all about the possibility, and that is endless.

View from Below courtesy of vastateparkstaff
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