My World

No pictures. Just sentences.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The tree is dead, long live the tree

When I bought my new house earlier this year, it came with a nicely xeriscaped front yard. However, amidst all the drought tolerant, desert type plants was a small pine tree. The pine tree didn't fit in and I forgot that it might need a little extra care because it wasn't drought tolerant.

Well, about a month ago, it died. It was only a couple feet tall. I probably could have put some tinsel and lights on it at Christmastime if it had survived. Last night when I came home from work, I noticed my trash can was a little fuller than it was when I left earlier. Today was trash day and it was so dark last night I couldn't figure out what was making the trash can so full. Finally I grabbed a flashlight out of the car and looked around the front yard. One of my neighbors thoughtfully dug up the tree and disposed of it. I know he did it because he was tired of looking at it, but it's okay.

That little tree had a purpose. There used to be a time that I would be offended if someone did something nice for me. I would think it was because they thought that I was incapable or somehow unable to do it myself. I thought it was a reflection on me. I'm learning that when someone does something nice for me, it's a good thing. Pay it back or pay it forward, it doesn't matter. The fact is someone thought about me and put that thought into action.

I used to feel like that. Somewhere along the way things changed. I became more reclusive and more self-sufficient. Sure it's a good thing to be able to rely on yourself, but not at the exclusion of others. We all need each other. All of us. Even you. Even me.

Another lesson I've learned from dead plants is that if they die, it's all right. I can take care of them and they will die, I can neglect them and they may thrive. It's a reflection on the plant, not on the caregiver. I learn that the next time I don't want to leave it where it gets so much sun that it sunburns. I learn that some plants are hardier than others. I learn that I have no control over what treatment that plant gets when I'm not around. I learn that even if the plants LOOK pretty together, they may not be compatible with each other and they may not survive as a group.

Interesting what I can learn from dead plants that I haven't quite learned about people yet.


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