Nature Teaches Lessons on Life: “The Fainting Tree”
Living in Pensacola, Florida is almost like living with a man. In between the blow-ups (Hurricanes), you experience life at its finest. You are desperately in love with it and yet you know that it will not always be fun. As with everything in life, you need to have good and bad to make the balance of ying and yang.
Our old live oaks, palms and pine trees stand magnificent in postcard perfect scenery. Although one could not compare our back lawn to a postcard with the most popular tropical trees in it, we have trees that I have come to love.
Very close to our back patio, stands a young crab apple tree. I suppose she is probably about 7 years old and stands about 15 foot tall. Upon our return from evacuating from Ivan, I was saddened to find the winds had laid her flat on the ground. Steve wrestled with the decision to cut her up or to attempt to save her. When he seen how much I really cared for the tree – he pulled her up and tied her upright.
Months passed and my dear tree still stood strong and flourished under our unusual weather. Spring came for the first time since the hurricane and our tree had never looked so beautiful! I thought she had long moved passed Ivan, even though most of Pensacola scenery had not. We still had large quantities of blue roofs and homes, which were tents. Many trees were still showing their roots, metal still twisted in the distance and the look of disorientation still visible on the faces of many.
June arrived with graduations, Fathers Day, Birthdays and proms filling her days with special events. Although Hurricane season was here, most thought it entirely too early to be concerned. This year it was to be different as a gusty tropical storm named Arlene headed our way. As the news warned us she could change into a category one hurricane, panic started to set in. Those who had left before stayed as they eyed her with a certain amount of cynicism. She was just a storm with little chance of ever making it to the big times. However, after enduring the wrath of Ivan, the people that nearly let complacency kill them before – let unbridled fear govern them.
The morning Arlene was to come ashore, I sat at our breakfast table feeding my 14-month-old grandson while drinking my coffee. We had light rain showers but, as of yet, we had still eluded the wind. Looking at the Crab Apple tree, I sighed and asked aloud to no one in particular “I wonder if the wind will take her away from us this time”? Then I witnessed an event that left me mystified. Very slowly and ever so gently, our crab apple tree lay down on the ground. The action was so slow and gentle I had to take a second look to make sure my eyes had not betrayed me. There was no wind! Yet there she lay without one broken limb! We looked at her in amazement, trying to figure out what had just happened.
After the terrifying Ivan, did our tree faint at the thought of another hurricane? If she had fainted, I believe she would have come crashing down. Maybe she simply decided that she would rather lay down until the storm subsided then to have her entire presence ripped up by the roots. Either way, I bestowed on her the title “The fainting tree”.
As Arlene hobbled upon shore, her presence afforded no danger to our crippled city. She was merely a shower and a puff of wind to many. The fear that had gripped our city passed as the realization ensued that Arlene’s presence was feeble.
Too many times in life, we do not use the wisdom of the crab apple tree. We, instead, stand up in the face of danger when it is ludicrous. We are afraid others will think we are being weak if we concede, so we risk life and limb to prove how brave we are. At some point we must ask ourselves what is more important in life. Being stupid to look brave or to concede and be smart.
If Arlene had blasted through, as numerous agencies were predicting, the tree would probably been ravaged by the storm. However, lying down gently would have kept her safe from the winds. You would probably be correct if you said the fainting tree lay over by coincidence. Yet, whenever she did, it made me think about this little lesson on love and life. It was then I realized how important it is to know when to stand up and when to step down.
Rhiannon Waits is a syndicated columnist with her column published in 14 different countries and translated into 4 different languages. You can purchase "Little Lessons on Love And Life" at Amazon.com, book private sessions, schedule speaking engagements, or attend book signings by calling 850-941-4190. You can also visit her web site at RhiannonWaits.com. Rhia lives in Pensacola Florida with her life partner, Steve, and her children. Rhiannon Waits is a renowned Psychic/Medium.