One tree hill

one tree sunrise_small

I’ve been drawn to trees since I was a young kid, mostly as a climber.  This old tree caught my eye on a hill that I drive by on my way to work.  The tree is interesting because there are no other trees around it.  It’s all alone on this hilltop, struggling against the elements to survive.  The thick trunk is bent over to the point that it defies gravity.

I remember my college photography teacher explaining that seeing a deer all alone in a dry meadow 100 yards away may be exciting when you see it in person, but it doesn’t necessarily make a good photograph.  It’s just a speck of brown in a big field of yellow.  You’ve got to zoom in or walk in for a closer look.

I decided to walk in for a closer look at one tree hill, during a break in my run on Saturday.  I had to jump a barbed wire fence and trudge through snake territory to get there, my running shoes slipping sideways on the steep incline. The hike was worth it.  I looked around from the tree’s point of view to see Tracy in the East and Livermore in the West.  No wonder it was all alone.  This was some great real estate.

The tree is magnificently strong, and must have deep roots to be able to hang on to the hilltop like that.  What was even more amazing was the other side that you can’t see from the road. It was scarred and missing a large chunk due to a giant branch having fallen away.  Half the trunk was hollow at the base, yet it still supported the one heavy branch growing at an impossibly sideways angle.

I reached up and placed a hand on the rough bark of that one huge branch.  I gave it a little shove but it didn’t budge.  I could almost feel the ancient life force speaking to me, saying “Dude, I’m surviving 50 mph winds up here. You’re not going to push me over.”

I wrapped my arms around the branch to measure the circumference, and then laughed at myself when I realized I was actually hugging a tree. Please don’t tell anyone.

If Barbara Walters asked you if you were a tree, isn’t this the tree you’d want to be?  You’d have a strong base, like your deep roots with family and friends.  You’d be a little scarred from previous storms, but still showing your best face to the world.  Bring on the wind, the lightning, the frost, the termites and the brush fires. You’re still standing and you’re still growing.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Motivation

5 Comments on “One tree hill”


  1. Hi, Dave. I like this analogy of the tree. It is truly symbolic of real life.

    In an Aikido demonstration years ago I saw an old Master stand in the middle of the work out mat, and a pair of young stud black belts wrapped their arms around HIS trunk… and together, they could not lift him. This power of “rootedness” is what they call “Ki” or “Chi.” Visually in the mind, the teachers of this suggest that you reach down into the earth with yout mind and spirit and become one with it. This is the non-technical version of a description of Chi.

    The power of the mind as connected to spirit is what rooted the master. I believe that there is a physics lesson here, but it won’t be accepted by all.

    Your story tells it all. The tree shows it can be done. We just need to apply it to another dimension – that of life as a human.

    What is interesting is that when I look back on life, for years I had thought that I was vulnerable and fragile. It is only now, over a half a century into my life that I realize that our roots go deep, and although we “think” we are vulberable and fragile, we are actually much stronger than we think.

    Hmmm… what if people started realizing that they had power? :o)

    Thanks, Dave.
    Roland.

    • davidgoad Says:

      Roland, you write some of the most insightful and inspiring replies to my blogposts. I feel like I could learn a lot from you. Maybe I should be replying to your blogposts 🙂 How about it?

  2. clint Says:

    Wow. Wax on, wax off, my old dj friends. Thank you, both, for your sensitivity and insights.
    clint

    • davidgoad Says:

      On the next episode, we’ll be exploring “paint the fence” and “sand the floor”. Please stay tuned 🙂


  3. Ah, you and me both – an obsession with trees. My favorite book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Have you read it, or have your kids read it? It’s so good.

    I celebrate your being a tree hugger,David! Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog. I think we spend so much time being busy in life, that we take life itself, like trees for granted, but they are truly great life examples… and exactly everything you said they are.

    I produced this commercial back in July – wanted to share it with you as we seem to be echoing the same benefits and beauty of the life lessons trees give to us. 🙂

    Hope you are climbing a tree today, and enjoying the view you see!!

    Blessings to you and your family!
    Cheers,
    Stacey


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