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Now that’s an effort

On a game trail in the Uncamphagre National Forest in Colorado last year, I saw something that caught my attention. Not far from a small creek, a young pine tree had gotten knocked down, apparently some time ago. It happens. Maybe by wind, a snow slide, mud at the bank giving loose or the impact of another tree, itself clobbered by some unknown force. A domino effect, perhaps.This sapling could have thrown in the needles and just given up. It could have just stayed where it landed, on the ground, roots embarrassingly exposed, stripped of some of its branches, withered up with time ó and died. Thatís life. What was the point anyway? There were plenty of other evergreens in the dense forest; most taller, fuller, far healthier. This tree would not be known, would not make a difference, would not matter. It would not have been a shelter to birds in a thunderstorm. Would not have provided pine nuts to noisy squirrels. Would not have been shade to a hunter napping beneath midday.†But an amazing thing had happened. The will to live, to grow, to thrive. To compete for space in a crowded woodland world. To seek the light that dappled the landscape, anything upwards. This little tree couldnít turn itself upright (things would never be just the same again), but it could change direction, make the best of the cards dealt it, and try, try, try to reach the sky.What determination! Over time (maybe just a foot a year?) the pine had made a full U-turn off the forest floor and was again striving to grow to a higher place. It didnít just resign itself to its plight, but fought for life, for meaning, for purpose. I wish I could see that tree in a hundred years, seeing its thick, bent trunk at its base, knowing just part of its story ó but admiring its tremendous effort.

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