When hiking last weekend, we saw a tree just off the trail that must have toppled over the last winter. I was struck by how shallow the root system was on the 35-40 foot tall tree.
Roots on trees have a three-fold purpose. To collect nutrients, to collect water and to support the tree and keep it from falling over. In the mountainous forests of northern New England, the soil is so rich in nutrients and moisture that the root system spreads out rather than down and, with the granite of the mountain just below, the rich soil layer is often so shallow that a tap root has nowhere to go to provide stability.
So, thinking about the root system kind of made me wonder how much people are like trees. Maybe, it's through struggle for our physical and emotional needs that we gain depth and stability.
If our roots have to work hard enough to give us what we need then when we get buffeted by winds of adversity or burdened by loads of ice, snow or heartache--we can hang in there--maybe we would bear some scars but we wouldn't be bottom-side up beside the trail.