Thursday, January 22, 2015

Obstacles and Perseverance

Great works are performed not by strength,
but by perseverance.
~Samuel Johnson


I recently looked at some photos of some impressive trees in downtown Boston that I had taken last winter.  I hadn't taken the photos because the trees were impressive in size or in beauty.  They were, however, notable in their tenacity to keep growing despite their harsh environment.


Being next to a busy street and sidewalk was not the ideal situation for the trees.  Litter piled around the roots, something or someone had broken half of its branches, and the trees were stuck in a tiny strip between the sidewalk and a chain link fence.  The fence was obviously an impediment for the trees, as they struggled to stretch towards the sunlight.


But the trees, in their monumental effort to grow towards the sun, actually grew through the fence, enveloping the metal links in their very wood.


Honestly, looking at how all of the branches had been broken off on this side of the fence, the tree was probably safer growing into the other side of the fence.  The other side of the fence promised more sun and safety. This is one case where the grass was actually greener on the other side of the fence, and the tree knew it.


To overcome their obstacle and achieve their goal, the trees must have had to start out slowly.


Each day they needed to reach for the sunlight, growing just a little bit closer, melding and inching slowly into the fence, 


persevering over the days and weeks and even years...
...until finally making it to the other side.


Looks almost like Nature is demonstrating some sort of lesson, doesn't it?

34 comments:

  1. I found myself saying 'Ouch!' on behalf of the tree!

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    1. It's kind of sad, those poor trees wanting to get over to the other side of the fence so badly. On the other hand, it's fascinating how they can grow like that.

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  2. It reminds me of the Discovery channel documentary 'Life after people'.

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    1. Very true! It will all be taken back over by the plants!

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  3. Ooh, it does look painful! You must admire such will to live a better life :-)
    Great photos!

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    1. Thanks! They definitely worked to get over there!

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  4. Oh my, poor tree. But the tenacity! Very admirable. It makes me want to cut down the fence (the parts that aren't in the tree) and add a pretty garden and bench under the tree. Not going to happen, but wow--that's a tree to celebrate!

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    1. It does make one want to make the area nicer! They are on the top of a steep incline, so the fence is actually a safety thing, but still, it would nice with some flowers growing around, as opposed to plastic bottles..

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  5. When I trained in martial arts, my Korean master told us one of the 5 tenets was perseverance: "Fall down 99 times, get up 100 -- that how you win!" Your pictures starkly illustrate the strong will to live among living things. Thanks! -Beth

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    1. Good saying! Very true. There are studies that say a person's success doesn't depend on his or her IQ nearly as much as it depends on their tenacity and perseverance.

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  6. It certainly does! Amazing how some plants adapt

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    1. I would love to know what type of tree that is. Such a fighter!

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  7. Those poor trees. Reminds me of 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' -- persevering whatever the conditions. P. x

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    1. It is truly impressive. I haven't read the book, but it is definitely a lesson in perseverance.

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  8. I think the lesson is we are the impediment to a happy nature. I really get sad to see the topped trees that power companies and city workers mangle. The trees are planted without consideration for how large they get, all because planners want tree lined streets. It is for more than a pretty street, it is for cooling off neighborhoods and generating some privacy for homeowners. Greening up cities is the goal, but they do it so wrong sometimes.

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    1. That is true. They don't plan properly, or else the people that maintain the area are part of a totally different division and don't understand how to maintain them. They just do their job, whether it is to dump tons of mulch around the roots, or cut of the tops for the power lines. Very sad.

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    1. I do wonder if they'll ever tear down the fence, and if they'd have to cut down the trees to do that.

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  10. I think this applies to people, too. I've always found those borne of fire are tougher than hot house beauties. That tree demands absolute respect. What a survivor!

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    1. So true! You just have to admire such tough spirits!

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  11. Plants look so innocent never moving when we are watching, but let some time pass and they move just the same. Sleeping Beauty's hedge , and the trees in the The Wizard of Oz were written by observers of plants like this. I used to think that the woods stayed the same. That's not true. It is always moving and changing. We are just too busy to notice..

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    1. I always think, to a tree, we probably just look like we're moving incredibly fast. I love seeing time-lapse videos of plants growing. It would be awesome to see one of a tree. They grow and move, just all the more slowly.

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  12. Around here those trees get overlooked because they're too close to the fences, then they're too much trouble to remove. What they suggest to me is that plants are determined to live and grow even when unnaturally distorted.

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    1. The little street where they were growing looked very uncared for. They'll probably be there for quite a while to come, hopefully.

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  13. Oh my, this poor tree! You do have to admire its will to survive, though.

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    1. It's so impressive. There are several of these trees in a row. I'd love to know what type of tree it is - they're obviously very tough!

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  14. I laughed at your last sentence, as that was going to be my exact comment! I did not know that trees could do such an amazing thing, until some years ago when I discovered that a tree limb in my garden had swallowed the metal chain on a forgotten bird feeder.

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    1. I had heard of such things, but never seen it before. It's an impressive sight!

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  15. Replies
    1. That's the saying that came to my mind - where there's a will, there's a way!

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  16. A perfect pairing of quote and photos. I admire that tree! I would like to think it was not planted by a human that did not think of the future, but perhaps the wind or a passing bird. I live in an old neighborhood where developers are coming in and demolishing little bungalows to put up McMansions. They are always trying to cut down the trees, but the neighbors protest and many old trees have been saved.

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    1. There is a row of several of these trees, so I'm thinking they were planted deliberately, though not very conscientiously. I'd love to see them in summer sometime, as they are probably still home to birds and other critters in the city. So great that your neighborhood is saving the old trees. In our last neighborhood, the builder swore he wanted to save as much of the woods as possible and keep the old trees. He did at first, but then the last few houses he just clearcut, as it was cheaper. We were all so very sad at that.

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  17. That is why I love nature...for all it teaches me and why I started blogging to share those lessons...this is fabulous Indie!

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