Monday, October 10, 2005
Arborvitae. An aromatic evergreen tree of the genus Thuja of the family Cupressaceae (cypress family), with scalelike leaves borne on flattened branchlets of a fanlike appearance and with very small cones. There are several species, two native to North America, the remainder native to Asia but sometimes cultivated in the United States. The leaves were once used as a remedy for rheumatism, and their oil as a vermifuge. The wood of these species is soft but quite resistant to decay, hence its popularity for fence posts.
The only item the on-line encyclopedia forgot to mention was the tree's resistance to being dug up and pulled, even after the tree is visibly dead above the ground. Such was the setting of this past Saturday as I tried to remove a simple three-foot arborvitae from the side of our home landscape. It was obviously a shrub that had seen its better day and had finally succumbed to a hard winter freeze, but I decided to give it the summer to see if it would pull itself through... no luck. So here I was on a chilly Saturday morning, shovel in hand, attempting to put this arborvitae to its final rest.
Despite its soft upper structure, no matter how much I dug around the base of the tree and chopped at it with a hand axe, that stubborn arborvitae hung on. I chopped and dug and chopped some more. And only after 45 minutes of this chopping and digging, did this small pine finally give up. As I laid this small pine on the side of our house until brush removal later in the week, I am again reminded of how Life - be it plant or human - remains consistent.
It is the canopy - the leaf/needle cover - that allows all plant and treelife to energize itself. And it is the root system that allows all plant and tree life to receive its needed nourishment. It's the root system that grows outward and downward, providing the necessary stability for the plant or tree in all forms of weather. And it's the canopy that will grow outward and upward but never larger than its root system.
In the same way, you and I are not much different than that little arborvitae on the side of my home - except that you and I are still living. You see, the canopy you and I wear is that of our own dreams and goals; they energize us, they motivate us, they lift us outward and upward.
Our root system is that of our own values and beliefs; they provide us with our needed nourishment and the stability in all forms of weather that Life hands us. It these roots that cause us to grow greater and deeper as a person. And even when the softer, more visible aspect of our Life dims, it is our root system - our values and beliefs - that will remain strong... until we are finally removed and laid to rest.
Knowing that, I ask you, "What is that you value that provides you that most vital nourishment? What is it that you believe that provides you that most vital stability?" Value it and believe it, until you are pulled from the common clay of this earth and laid to rest.
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