By Carolyn Massiah
UCF Forum columnist
The view in my backyard is a conservation area full of various types of trees. As the seasons pass, the trees lose their leaves and even some of their branches, but the trees remain in large part due to their sturdy roots.
To the side of my house is a concrete light pole. It doesn't have any leaves and branches, obviously, but it is more susceptible to being blown down during a violent storm because it lacks the strong roots that mature trees have to anchor them through a storm.
When I compare and contrast the tree and the pole, I know I would much rather be a tree.
Both trees and light poles stand above the blanket of shrubs and bushes below. However, this is where the similarities end.
Many light poles are inorganic entities of concrete or metal, created through some form of human intervention. The shape and size in which these poles are created will forever be their shape and size as inorganic entities will not change during their existence unless there is additional intervention.
Trees, on the other hand, are organic. They are living organisms that continually change. They will lose and gain leaves and branches but they will also grow and mature throughout their existence. Continual growth and development is what I want for my own life. This is why I would rather be a tree than a light pole.
Unfortunately, positive growth sometimes must come from negative changes. Each year trees weather the change of seasons. With those changes in season, leaves come and they go and sometimes there may be seasons when the trees may not have any leaves at all on their branches.
The same can be said for our own lives. There are people that become attached to you as much as leaves are attached to branches. However, as the seasons change in our lives those people may disappear. Sometimes it seems several disappear at once and you are left bare much like trees in winter. For whatever reasons, those individuals were only meant to be in your life for a season. Yes, it hurts when those who you thought were going to stay forever leave your life before you are ready, but it is the nature of our organic lives.
Unfortunately, you never know how strong any branch will be until it is tested in the most violent of storms. Some branches appear thick and sturdy while they may actually be hollow or rotten to the core. If you step out on the branch for support because of its sturdy appearance, you might be disappointed and shocked when that branch does not support you but breaks and hurts you instead.
The same can be said for our own lives. There are people that we have relied upon and with whom we have built a long-term relationship. We have truly let them into our lives. However, as the weight of whatever burden you need bared by them increases, that friend gives under the load and breaks away from you in a permanent and irrevocable manner. Yes, it hurts but just as leaves come for a reason during a season, branches are there for those life-long lessons that we will take with us long after the branches have broken and been swept away. That is the nature of our organic lives.
So based on this, you might now be wondering why I would choose to be a tree instead of a pole. One word: roots!
Because trees are organic living creatures their roots continue to grow and strengthen as the tree grows and matures. When a storm comes, the roots anchor trees and allow trees to bend but not break in the storm.
Poles do not have that same anchor support. That is why we see more poles than trees down after severe hurricanes.
The same can be said for our own lives. Think about those individuals in your life that have been your anchor and support through the good and the bad. Often, much like a tree's roots, those individuals do all of their work out of the view of others with no need of public acknowledgement. They are the blessings that we cannot overlook in our lives.
After comparing and contrasting the two, if I had to choose I would rather be a tree if it means that I will continue to have the blessings of roots just waiting to support me and feed me as I work to develop and mature throughout my existence.
Dr. Carolyn A. Massiah is an associate lecturer in the UCF College of Business. She can be reached at Carolyn.Massiah@ucf.edu.