Why the Tree Falls 

A Big Cypress on the banks of the Santa Fe River in Ginnie Springs, Florida. 

A Big Cypress on the banks of the Santa Fe River in Ginnie Springs, Florida. 

Trees. They begin growing the day they are fertilized, like humans. Even before a seedling breaks the surface of the soil, what happens above them, below them, and to the right and left of them, affects them.  Like humans, the first days, weeks, months, and years of their life governs how they grow.  If given the privilege of ample sunlight, a tree may grow a little quicker than the tree next to them.

 But the tree in the shadow is a good tree.  It doesn’t inhibit the growth of other trees nor does it take more nutrients than it needs.  The good tree in the shadow produces oxygen.  It contributes to the world.  Maybe not as much as the tree in the sunlight, but that’s not it’s fault.

The seasons change.  Years go by.  The tree in the sunlight is tall; strong.  Its trunk is straight, unscarred.  The tree forced to grow through the shadows bends at weird angles.  Birds fly right by it. “I cannot nest in this tree,” they say.  "It looks funny. Why would I choose this one when I can have a perfect tree?”  The tree sighs, produces some oxygen, and continues to grow.  

One day the straight tree tries to help the bent tree. “I never even saw you there,” it proclaims.  “Here, grab my branch and I will make you look like you’re supposed to!”  The bent tree grabbed hold of the straight tree with the strongest branch it had.  The straight tree pulled hard; it sincerely wanted to help.  With a painful crackle, the bent tree snapped in half. 

We must realize that one cannot force a bent tree to be straight simply because that is how we imagine it.  One must guide the tree; only bracing it when necessary.  With support, even a bent tree can reach the utmost of heights.