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My favorite tree’s fight with adversity

We all have a favorite place, a location that calls us to a younger, more idealistic version of ourselves. It’s where we rest when we’re tired, where we can be still in world of busyness, where we can retreat from the humdrum of a routine. It’s the place where we come alive. If you go north on 1…
By Seth Barnes

We all have a favorite place, a location that calls us to a younger, more idealistic version of ourselves. It’s where we rest when we’re tired, where we can be still in world of busyness, where we can retreat from the humdrum of a routine. It’s the place where we come alive.

dukes creekfalls upper deckIf you go north on 129 out of
Gainesville GA, and take a right on 75 toward Unicoi State Park, you can see my
favorite waterfall and my favorite tree.

It takes 35 minutes to drive from my office to Dukes Creek Falls, and it’s a
beautiful 20-minute walk to the falls.

But what about the tree? It’s some kind of pine tree – nothing special. Yet, it represents a wonderful study in overcoming
adversity.

First of all, there’s the location
of the tree itself. It sits precariously
perched on a rock outcropping in the middle of the falls. You look for the roots that must have a
death-grip on the rock and they’re hard to see.

The more you study the tree, the more impossible its situation
looks. What are the odds of a seed
finding anything to grip and grow on out there?
How does it get its nourishment?
Where do those roots go? It’s
perplexing.

tree favoriteThis coniferous wonder grew for
years out on the ledge and then, apparently, lightning struck it about halfway
up and cut it in two.

Game over,
right? I’m telling Mr. Tree, “Hey, dude,
pack it in and call it a day.” But
amazingly, the tree found the wherewithal to stay alive. Look at it in the picture.

I want to be like that tree. So many people in America play the victim
game: “I was born out here in this grim, hostile place. Everything’s against me. And then calamity struck me. Life owes me something.”

I’m telling you, they are missing out. Life isn’t about escaping without any scratches; it’s tough, but it’s the toughness that makes it worth living. We were made to face adversity, to stand up against the chaos and bring order to it. Those who are set out to play it safe and demand that other people make their lives easier are kidding themselves.

If they were in Georgia, I’d drive ’em up to
Dukes Creek Falls and show ’em my tree.

* Thanks to Yvette for taking this picture!

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