I have been preparing a plot of land in my yard to transplant my rhubarb. This plot was very overgrown, full of grasses and weeds. I started by pulling up what I could, then I used a rake to dig in and pull up the roots. It looked good: dark fresh soil. But a few days later, there were fresh weeds sprouting up. I pulled the light green leaf tips and they uprooted easily.
I had to dig a bit deeper to turn over the deeper weeds. Then the plot was ready.
As I sat in the shade of my big white pine, having a glass of water and admiring my work, I thought about these weeds and that pine.
When a plant was young, inexperienced, it uprooted easily and I could toss it aside. Older plants had more structure, more confidence and were much more difficult to uproot. Then I looked up at the white pine towering over me. I wouldn’t stand a chance at uprooting that tree – he was old and wise and strong. It would take a very strong, relentless wind to uproot him – a force much bigger than myself.
Even the great white pine was once just a tiny seed. At each stage of life, he had dangers that could uproot him but as he grew older, the dangers were fewer but more ferocious.
If we live as a weed, with shallow foundations grown in a frenzy wherever we land, then our happiness will be largely shaped by others and possibly short lived. We will constantly be battling for our place in the sun.
If, however, we want to live like a pine, we must choose carefully the right environment to grow so that we may dig our roots deep and wide. We must chose the right allies to grow beside that they may shelter us from danger, but also uplift us and allow our share of light and nutrients. We must be patient and grow a little more each day; good things take time.
I used to feel like I had to have it all worked out from the beginning. Like school was enough to set the foundation and then it would be Spring.
Rather, school raised me from a seed to a seedling, in a manufactured, hydroponic, everyone-turns-out-the-same kind of way. It then took me 6 years to travel the world, meet other people, learn some skills so that I might choose the right environment for me to grow. It’s coincidence that it happens to be in the same yard as the white pine.
It’s taken me another 6 years to take root, to build some confidence, stability and value. It took longer than I thought, but maybe Spring is here at last.
What tiny actions do you take each day to support your growth?