I believe in trees. As I look out a window in my Vermont home, I watch a building wind attack snow laden trees, sending swirls of white into the air but also unburdening the branches of many pounds of accumulated weight. How do these trees survive the assaults that nature hurls? Often the trees don’t survive, of course, as when a hundred foot pine succumbed to tornadic winds last year and crushed the corner of our house, or the perpetual pruning of dead and unwanted branches that even a routine wind storm sends across our yard. But I continue to be astonished at the tenacity of trees, their determination to survive against the odds: wind, snow, drought, insects, global warming. And how do they survive the assaults of us humans? In our Vermont life, we rely on trees for shade in the summer, for flaming and inspiring colors in the fall, for firewood in the winter and of course for maple syrup in the spring. I have planted hundreds of trees for windbreaks, for apple picking, for decoration, for privacy and sometimes just for the satisfaction of watching them take root and grow. I have lived long enough and planted enough trees that I have cut for firewood trees that I planted long ago. But through it all, collectively, trees survive. There is a lesson here for those of us who worry about the future of the human race. Look at the trees out your window, then look around your life. If we as people can muster the strength and adaptability and tenacity of those trees, if we can adjust to nature’s assaults and the depredations of our neighbors in life, we will ultimately, collectivley survive too.
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