Take this conifer tree clinging to life on a rock ledge in New York’s Letchworth State Park. Upside down, roots halfway torn out, water and nutrients no doubt lacking. Yet it’s getting by very nicely, thank you. A true survivor, it has learned to adapt.
Now look at an Ailanthus tree growing through an urban fence. Yes, it’s the same species immortalized in the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and it’s the epitome of stick-to-itiveness. Trample it in youth, ignore it in drought, chop it down again and again (believe me, I speak from experience) . . . and still Ailanthus “keeps on keeping on.”
Finally, we have a silver maple growing along an Iowa river. Strong currents eroded the riverbank to the point where the maple toppled. Not a problem. As you can see, the adaptable tree shrugged its shoulders and told its suddenly out-of-place branches to keep doing their job -- only this time to head upward instead of outward.
I think Nature is teaching us some lessons here: Learn to adapt, refuse to give up, change direction when needed. And, most of all, keep reaching for the stars.