Why you need deep roots

shallow-roots

I took this picture on our Canadian Thanksgiving walk at Shaw Woods. It’s difficult to grasp this picture at a glance, so I’ll walk you through it. The sheer rock face to the left used to be the surface on which the tree grew. The clump of brownish tangle forming a V shape opposite it are the roots of the tree. We know the tree sustained itself for many years on that precarious and not-very-nourishing place because it grew to a substantial size. You can see the circumference of the trunk above the heads of my mother and my son. Their size gives you some perspective on the size of the tree.

The roots of the tree could not penetrate the solid rock to grow deeply, so root tendrils reached out horizontally over the slanting rock in their search for sustenance.

Such a precarious state could not endure. At some point, a storm-driven gust of wind exerted such pressure on the tree that its roots peeled away from the impenetrable stone and it toppled. Without deep roots solidly anchoring it into the ground it could not survive a storm.

We can learn lessons from this tree.

Metaphorically speaking, to survive life’s storms, people need roots entrenched deeply into solid, anchoring sustenance: faith, nurturing friendships, loving family. Sure, some can survive for a while by spreading themselves thinly over precarious and not-very-nurturing surfaces, reaching out for sustenance through such things as jobs, money or alcohol and drugs. Like the tree in the photo, some people last surprisingly long that way. But eventually a storm comes with a wind too strong to withstand: the job disappears, the money dries up or the alcohol and drugs destroy ability to function effectively. Then the shallow roots peel away and everything topples.

Are you deeply rooted and ready for a storm? 

I took this picture - looking through the thin roots -  from the place where my mother and son were standing before. It is easy to see how shallow the roots were.

I took this picture – looking through the thin roots – from the place where my mother and son were standing before. It is easy to see how shallow the roots were.

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About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on November 7, 2014, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, Belief, Environment, Gratitude, How do you define success?, Inspiration, modern faith, progressive christianity, spirit and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi When my son was 16 I was sitting watching he and his team play hockey beside a very quiet and very wise friend. I was complaining on to her about choices our sons would be making and worrying how they would handle them. She quietly said “we give them roots and we give them wings and we have to hope the roots are deep enough to give them strength to soar.” I have often thought of this as our kids and now grand kids find their own wings. Thanks for reminding me of this today. Be good to yourself!

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