Thursday, March 24, 2005

A very large oak tree was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some reeds, which it thus addressed: "I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds." They replied, "You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape."


It remains one of the sacred secrets of Nature and Life: flexibility.

On July 4, 1999, one of the greatest wind storms to ever enter northern Minnesota hit the Boundary Water Canoe Area (BWCA) with devastating effect. Winds exceeding 75 mph caused extensive blowdown of trees across 478,000 acres of the BWCA, most of which were sturdy pine and hardwood. The resulting effect was not only damaged forests but also the creation of the one of the most dangerous fuel hazards; a massive base of dead timber on top of deep layer of duff (dead leaves and underbrush) - ideal for a future wildfire.

It was inevitable. Hardwoods and sturdy pine are inflexibe by their very nature. So although the devastation during that summer night of 1999 was one of Nature's tragedies, it was not unexpected. Sheer inflexibility.

The essence of Nature itself resides within us. We are all tossed by the storms of Life. That is inevitable. It remains our choice to either be flexible or inflexible in the face of these storms. Flexible does not mean to take cover or cower when Life becomes difficult. And flexible does not always mean giving in or compromising. The nature of our flexibility is the ability to exist within our own humanness; to know that all will not go our way and to adapt and revise and improvise... again and again. It is the very nature of our flexibility to bend - to literally dance - with the least breath of air that moves our life and shapes our journey.

It is our nature, but it's also our choice.

hoedl's haven
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