The Tree of Resilience

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Along the shoreline of Lake Superior there is a cliff side called Pictured Rocks. These rocks are statuesque, domineeringly looking down upon the lake and its inhabitants. Along these rocks there are magnificent streaks of color, reminding us that nature is the first true artist. As you move along further into Lake Superior, you notice that there are caves along these cliffs, and that foliage has found its way to the most unlikely places. There is even a ledge atop which seagulls birth their young and protect them from predators. These rocks are a unique display of the grandeur of the world that we inhabit. As you move along the cliffs, you oscillate between being excited by the beauty around you and feeling small and overwhelmed by the sheer size of this natural feat.

At the end of the rocks, there comes a cliff that had caved between the edge and the inner part of the cliff. This created an interesting island rock that stood on its own. Atop that island rock stood a majestic tree that spanned the entire top of the rock. This tree had no connection to the soil, no source of nourishment on that island, and yet it stood strong. As we turned and saw the gap between this island rock and the base cliff to the left of it, I saw large roots extending across the gap and reaching the soil on the base cliff. These roots, while exposed to all of the elements, were thick and coiled around each other, looking more like a bridge rather than the base of a tree. They stretched unapologetically towards their life source. They are the reason that the tree stood tall, resilient against the outer forces, which clearly were attempting to destroy this tree.

I completely fell in love with this tree. It was so unique, with its white base and evergreen top, its roots spreading out to the left across the air, gracefully demanding nutrients. When all else seemed to fail, this tree had figured out a way to adapt to the world around it and survive. Frankly speaking, isn’t this the goal for life? There are many situations that might crush us, leaving us stranded on an island of hopelessness without any support, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot pull through. On our own, we can begin to rely on the roots we have built, the core of the very people we are to pull us up. However, this is only possible if during times of peace, we take caution to build those lifelines. It is easy during times of calm to ignore doing life maintenance. Why bother learning new skills, or growing when you are comfortable where you are? The answer is because life rarely stays the same. The more you build up your roots, the more you develop yourself, the more skills you gain, the better your reactions to the world around you, the more stability you bring to your world, the deeper your roots are in that stable ground. The more life maintenance you do, the more likely you are to be able to survive during a cave in, when you are left stranded and forced to rely on your own resources.

It isn’t always easy, and it certainly isn’t a fast process, but I firmly believe in pushing myself. About a year ago, if I had been that tree, left alone atop that island, I would have crumbled. I had weak roots without the ability to support myself. Luckily I had a strong family who threw lifelines across a cavern of fear keeping me standing upright. Nowadays, on the other end of things, I realize that life won’t always be so kind. Trials and tribulations as I had experienced may return, and maybe I will have to rely on myself to hold myself up. Thus it is my responsibility, out of respect to those who invested time in helping me, to work on myself and refuse to settle for complacency and weakness. Bettering yourself is always possible if you are committed to the process. Essentially, at the end of it all, through all of the problems that you may face, with that hard work and resilience, you will find yourself standing upright, looking patiently out at the sea of a world around you, smiling majestically, and inspiring the world around you with you blossoming foliage of knowledge.

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