Monday, February 26, 2007

Lessons from nature

In December I told the story about the tree that fell across the street.
A few days later, city employees removed what was left of the tree, and sawed the trunk into several stubs. Grandma, always looking for materials she can use for decoration or crafts, asked the neighbor if she could have one of the stubs. It was very heavy, we had to roll it across the street and we left it on the garden.
Some days ago, I noticed there was a sprout on the stub. And it has grown to the size shown in the pictures.

Of course there's no hope for a rootless stub, but this fine effort is a lesson for anyone who quit at the first obstacle. Even when it seems there's no hope, it's always worth trying!

More than two years ago, I got from some friends a bonsai, a jaboticaba tree. I loved the present, of course, and since then I was always careful to keep its good health.
In January we traveled on a weekend, and I forgot to water the bonsai before leaving. It was a very hot weekend, and when we returned it was wilting. I watered it right away, but later the leaves dried completely. I put it in a bowl with water, to keep the soil always wet. Some days went by, and nothing happened. I insisted. Two weeks, and nothing. Every day I would look for some sign of life, but the bonsai seemed irremediably lost. But when I touched its branches I could feel they were still flexible, a sign (I thought) that they were not completely dry. I kept trying. Three, four weeks. I was about to quit, but something kept telling me to keep trying.
On Carnival we traveled again, and I left the bonsai in the bowl with water. When we returned, surprise: there was a sprout with four little green leaves!

Now I'm waiting for new sprouts. The plant is still very fragile, nothing guarantees it will keep growing. But it was worth not quitting on it.
This made me think that what happened to the plant can be viewed as an analogy to friendship: it must always be cared for, and many times a small mistake, a careless comment, an involuntary slip, causes it to wilt, dry and seem dead. It's better not to let it dry, because if thi happens it may take a great effort to revive it; but if it is dry, this doesn't mean it's dead - it's up to us to care for this little plant, to water it daily, to massage its trunk, to even talk to it, even if all this seems hopeless. If the friendship is true and strong, it won't have died, and one day the green will show up and it will recover its previous vigor!

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